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Life is Beautiful with ABC Classic FM: Volume 2
Johann Sebastian BACH (1985-1750)
Air from Orchestral Suite No. 3 BWV1068 [3:26] *
Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881)
Dawn on the Moscow River from Khovanshchina [5:32] #
Emmanuel CHABRIER (1841-1894)
Idylle from Suite Pastorale [4:59] *
Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Prelude in D-Flat Op. 28 No.4 "Raindrop" [4:42] %
Edward ELGAR (1857-1934)
Chanson de matin Op. 15 No.2 [3:51] #
Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936)
The Dove from The Birds [4:30] +
Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924)
In paradisum from Requiem [3:30] £
Pavane Op. 50 [5:27] ^
George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759)
Ombra mai fú (Largo) from Xerxes [3:37] #
Alessandro MARCELLO (1669-1747) arr. Johann Sebastian BACH (1985-1750)
Adagio from Concerto in D Minor BWV974 [4:44] %
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Adagio from Clarinet Concerto [7:31] ¥
Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921)
The Swan from Carnival of the Animals [3:02] º
Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741)
Allegro from Flute Concerto No.3 "The Goldfinch" [4:05] ¢
Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)
Largo from Symphony No.9 "From the New World" (excerpt) [4:08] §
Christoph Willibald GLUCK (1741-1787)
Dance of the Blessed Spirits from Orphée et Eurydice [6:03] ¤
Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937)
Pavane pour infante défunte [6:20] *
Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907)
Morning from Peer Gynt [4:02] *
Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra/David Stanhope * and Omri Hadri +; West Australian Symphony Orchestra/David Measham #; Melbourne Symphony Orchestra/Richard Divall ¤; Sydney Symphony Orchestra/Matthias Bamert ^, José Serebrier §, Robert Pikler ¥ and David McBride ¢; Sydney Philharmonia Motet Choir, Sydney Philharmonia Orchestra/Anthony Walker £ Donald Westlake (clarinet) ¥; John Champ (piano) %; David Pereira (cello), Anthony Baldwin and David Bollard (pianos) º; Paul Curtis (flute) ¢
Various recording dates and locations. ADD/DDD
ABC CLASSICS 476 8775 [78:36]

This CD is one of the swathe of recent releases from ABC Classics which is designed to appeal to those who enjoy classical music as a means of relaxation. For those not well acquainted with the label, an explanation may be in order. ABC Classic FM is the Australian equivalent of BBC Radio 3, but the station is acutely aware that a substantial part of its audience would listen to an Australian equivalent of the UK's Classic FM if it were available. It is for this audience that ABC Classics (the network's recording arm) intends CDs such as this.

I could go into an analysis of each track of this well-filled disc, but if you are interested in the comparative quality of each track, then this disc is not for you. It should suffice to say that all of the performances here are more than decent. What is more important to the target audience of this CD is the quality of the program as a whole.

Here, ABC Classics does very well. The programme creates a most pleasant aural wallpaper "for a relaxing weekend". The tracks have been harvested from ABC Classics' back catalogue and they are intelligently arranged. This is not an all-baroque feast or a classical extravaganza. Instead, the disc ranges from the beauty of the baroque to the charm of Elgar's salon music and the atmospheric romance of Mussorgsky. Compilation producer, Virginia Read, has been careful to ensure that even with this variety of periods and styles, the tracks are arranged in such a way as to prevent any jarring from the juxtaposition. There are also some unexpected inclusions. The Chabrier track, for example, is perhaps less familiar than the Adagio from Mozart's Clarinet Concerto, but makes a charming interlude between the Mussorgsky track and Chopin's Raindrop Prelude.

The booklet is most attractively laid out and the liner notes, though brief, are just informative enough for the novice whose ear is caught by a particular track and who wants to know more. My only gripe is the inclusion of a chunk of the Largo from Dvořák's Symphony No.9. It is one thing to include individual movements on a compilation CD, but excerpts of movements do a real disservice to composer, performers and listener alike.

This disc is certainly not for classaholics, but as a gift for those making their first forays into classical music, or for those wanting a "mood" disc to help them relax, this CD is unlikely to disappoint.

Tim Perry



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