Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

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OPERATIC OVERTURES FROM THE ROYAL THEATRE, STOCKHOLM   * St Petersburg Hermitage Orchestra/Mats Liljefors Kungl Hovkappellet/Stig Westerberg rec 1995 and 1985 STERLING CDS-1009-2 [61.10]

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JACOPO FORONI (1825-1858) Overture No. 3 1850 8.20 *

FRANZ BERWALD (1796-1868) The Dressmaker overture 1845 6.00 *

FRANZ BERWALD (1796-1868) I Enter a Monastery overture 1842 8.50

LUDWIG NORMAN (1831-1885) Festive Overture 1882 9.00

ANDREAS RANDEL (1806-1864) The People from Värmland 1846 10.04

AUGUST SÖDERMAN (1832-1876) The Devil's First Tentative Efforts overture (1856) 10.04

JOSEPH KRAUS (1756-1792) Proserpine overture 1863 9.30

I had never heard of Du Puy until I encountered the Danish companion to this Sterling CD. Foroni was similarly unknown to me (even as a name). His overture is a boisterous and light-hearted jeu-d'esprit in operatic idiom full of cross references to music we now associate with Rossini, Nicolai and Reznicek. It is a little over-extended at this length but warm and charming.

A similar dash and chatter is to be found in Berwald's game little overture to a failed operetta. Its flashing wind contributions are a Berwald hallmark and these alone mark out the disc for acquisition by Berwald specialists. His other operetta I Enter a Monastery has an overture of Norman-like grandeur and dashes of quicksilver Weber.

Norman's Festive Overture is a regal work of confident pomp. Randel's Schumann-inflected folk overture apparently uses traditional songs though in a most unassertive way. Söderman's Weber-like overture exudes a confidence we find in Freischütz and Oberon but with nationalistic elements like the horn serenade at 3.12 and the Tchaikovskian aspiring figures just after the serenade.

The earliest overture is the Kraus; a work of most affecting and (to me) surprising tenderness. Its gravity and reflective gait should have made it an instant and enduring hit. Come on radio stations. When you next get the itch to broadcast the overture to The Marriage of Figaro why not reach for this Sterling disc and go for the Kraus instead.

Excellent notes and technical dimension well-handled in an open-sounding recording. Recommended.


Rob Barnett


Rob Barnett

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