The title is fairly self-explanatory and who better than Prima
Carezza to expound the pleasures of the salon ensemble on disc.
This one was recorded a good while ago but is still part of
Tudor’s back catalogue and interested auditors may like to know
that this group has an appealing list of CDs to its name. Off
my own bat, years ago, I bought their Comme-ci, comme-ça
album devoted to the art of the Franco-Romanian Georges Boulanger
– well, maybe Romanian-French is the better way of putting it
[Tudor 766]. In any case it was a pleasurable disc, and their
affinity with the fiddle-leader continues in La Dolce Musica
where there are a quartet of pieces by that most eminent
executant and composer. Note too, if your interest extends to
Boulanger, that Extase is another album that contains
a fine selection of his music [Tudor 795].
It’s important that salon orchestras pay due homage to players
such as Boulanger, one of the most brilliant and expressive
players in the lighter style. Prima Carezza is versed in his
style and plays Gemüse,Gemüse, Gemüse – all titles are
in German in this disc – with pert familiarity, catching his
style with aplomb. Similarly they’re sparky in Warum?
and amusing in the waltz cousin he fashioned out of Kreisler’s
Schön Rosmarin. But whilst Boulanger takes a
fair slice, he’s not alone. We hear some salty Magyrisms in
Gustl Edelmann’s Zigeunerblut and even more explicitly
virtuosic fare, with cadential Sarasate-derived fireworks, in
Leo Rodi’s Am Schwarzen Meer. Delightful as well to encounter
Nedbal’s profusely generous ballet music in this form. The melody
of Vecsey’s Valse Triste is given to the cello – the
composer was a virtuoso Hungarian violinist – as is the Massenet
Elegie. So things are parcelled out amongst the strings;
Milton J Kazinczy is primarius but Michaela Paetsch Neftel takes
six violin solos throughout the set.
There’s a fine, subtle arrangement of David Wolfsthal’s Zsa-Zsa.
Was this the same David Wolfsthal who was a member of The
Strolling Players, where he alternated with David McCallum -
brilliant violinist father of the actor of the same name - and
who also did bags of studio work (Sgt Pepper etc) over many
years and was a scion of the London light and studio scene?
Inevitably we have two of the most famous Brahms Hungarian Dances
and some Kreisler too: Liebesfreud is too slow, for my
tastes. And there’s plenty of charm and wit too, not least Schmidseder’s
delightful Tango Marina.
The ensemble is a flexible one, with fiddles, cello, bass, piano,
accordion and clarinet. With varied personnel listed I can’t
work out who plays what, when, but I hardly think that much
matters. They’re a fun ensemble and communicate that through
elevated musical playing.