La Dolce Musica
Gustl EDELMANN (1910-1995)
Zigeunerblut [3:08]
Ungarische Heimat [2:18]
Am Schwarzen Meer [2:57]
Georges BOULANGER (1893-1958)
Gemüse,Gemüse, Gemüse [2;24]
Warum? [2:02]
Sanssouci/Antwort Auf 'Schön Rosmarin' [2:27]
Einsam Steh' Ich Unterm Sternenzelt [3:26]
Oskar NEDBAL (1874-1930)
Aus Der Ballet-Pantomime 'Der Faule Hans': Valse Triste [5:02]
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Ungarischer Tanz No.5 [2:07]
Ungarischer Tanz No.1 [2:43]
Nico DOSTAL (1895-1981)
Spiel Mir Das Lied Von Gluck Und Treu Aus Der Opertte 'Die Ungarische Hochzeit' [4:47]
Richard EILENBERG (1848-1927)
Petersburger Schlittenfahrt [2:39]
Franz von VECSEY (1893-1935)
Valse Triste [3:24]
Zsa-Zsa [3:46]
Jules MASSENET (1842-1912)
Elegie [3:51]
Fritz KREISLER (1875-1962)
Schön Rosmarin [2:07]
Liebesfreud [3:58]
La Chasse (after Jean Baptiste CARTIER) [2:09]
Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921)
The Swan [2:54]
François SCHUBERT (1808-1878)
Die Biene Op. 13 No. 9 [1:06]
Ludwig SCHMIDSEDER (1904-1971)
Tango Marina [3:07]
Original Prima Carezza Salon-Ensemble
rec. 1998, no location
TUDOR 7058 [63:34]

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.

Jonathan Woolf

A fun ensemble who communicate that through elevated musical playing.