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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



MUCH LOVED MUSIC

English Dance No. 5, (ARNOLD);
Fantasia on Greensleeves (VAUGHAN WILLIAMS);
Anvil Chorus from Il trovatore (VERDI);
The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba, (HANDEL);
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring (J.S.BACH);
Easter Hymn (MASCAGNI)
Let the bright Seraphim (HANDEL);
Air on a G string (J.S. BACH);
Romance from ‘The Gadfly’ (SHOSTAKOVICH);
Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves from Nabucco (VERDI);
Bailero from ‘Songs of the Auvergne’ (CANTELOUBE);
Cum Sancta Spiritu from the ‘Petit Messe solennelle’ (ROSSINI);
March of the Little Lead Soldiers (PIERNE) ;
Popular Song from ‘Façade’ (WALTON) ;
Perpetuum Mobile (J.STRAUSS II) ;
Chanson de Matin (ELGAR) ;
Badinerie from Suite No 2 in B minor (J.S.BACH)
Hallé Orchestra and Hallé Choir with Pamela Coburn (soprano) conducted by Owain Arwel Hughes
Recorded Royal Northern College of Music Manchester July 1984 and Studio 7 Broadcasting House Manchester July 1985
CLASSICS FOR PLEASURE 7243 5 74884 2 6 [76.13]

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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.


Gary Higginson


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