THE CLASSIC SALON; THE ART DECO CAFÉ.
London Salon Ensemble.
MERIDIAN CDE 84416/CDE
84361 2 CDs
The London Salon Ensemble comprises three violins, cello, double bass, piano,
harmonium/celesta/percussion (one player) and accordion, a fairly typical
formation in light music's palmy days. The stylish playing does much to evoke
that period and the recording and presentation (the notes are excellent)
These discs offer respectively popular-classics and classic light music.
"The classic-salon" - the more recent (September 1999) disc has the popular
classics: Mozart, Elgar, Mussorgsky, Mendelssohn, Mascagni, Debussy, Tchaikovsky,
Sibelius etc - with just one or two tracks less popular than the rest, like
Arensky's enjoyable Intermezzo.
The young soprano Charlotte Page, clear in delivery, contributes four songs
ranging from Gounod's deliciously corny O Divine Redeemer to Richard
Strauss. Of the "classic" composers" only Elgar is British, but one or two
of the arrangers we can claim as ours. John Foulds, Frederick Charrosin (compiler
of a selection of Brahms Hungarian Dances here) and Lars Payne, the
LSE's cellist and guiding light.
Foulds and Charrosin appear "in their own right" in "The Art Deco Café"
(1998) which is light music, café music indeed. About half its 17
tracks are German, with Gerhard Winkler's Scandinavian Express and
the French-flavoured Toulouse outstanding for me; seven are by British
composers, by birth or adoption. Isy Geyer's Roumanian Gypsy Dance
is rather commonplace, but Charrosin's Snowflake, with its celeste
solo, is redolent of Billy Mayerl. I also enjoy Coates' instrumental version
of his Bird Songs at Eventide and Bert Marland's busy piano feature,
Piccadilly Prelude, while Archibald Joyce's waltz Phantom Of Salome
happily does not duplicate his Marco Polo CD (8.223694). Foulds' Kashmiri
Boat Song, with its Eastern colour, is a real find, while Percy Fletcher's
Reconciliation, which reminds one forcefully of the adorable
Rosamund movement from Quilter's Where the Rainbow Ends suite,