Well I suppose you either like compilations or you
don’t, but with Christmas coming up, this low-priced, generously filled
but well recorded and good quality CD, might be just what you need,
or at any time for that matter.
Some tend to be a ‘bit sniffy’ about discs like this.
The classic syndrome, how can people listen to Classic FM and support
the advertisers if they are listening to their 3 hour long Relaxing
Classics compilation of only slow movements? This one at any rate mixes
styles and it mixes tempo, genre and interest. Therefore it never grates,
it can be put on and listened to right through, and, I’m sorry to admit
you might well wash up to it or eat or… well whatever.
The performances are generally unproblematic. One could
complain that the ‘Greensleeves Fantasia' is really too slow, and that
it is a pity that a disc with just a few choral items could only rustle
up one verse of ‘Jesu Joy’. However one could also say that it is a
joy to hear ‘Let the bright seraphim’ done so well by Pamela Coburn
and an anonymous trumpeter with its final choral section ‘Let their
celestial concerts’ sung so cleanly even if the ensemble between the
strings and the men is not always spot on.
The ‘March of the Little Lead Soldiers’ by Gabriel
Pierné was, for me anyway, a pleasantly surprising feature and
it is played most sensitively and delicately.
I suppose that the sleeve notes by Wadham Sutton will
be of little interest, they amount to about 250 words choice words on
the nature of serious and popular music since the 17th Century.