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European Light Music Classics
New London Orchestra/Ronald Corp
rec. July 1997, St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Originally issued on CDA66998
Full contents list at end of review
HYPERION HELIOS CDH55477 [74:25]

Ronald Corp has a gift for this sort of programme. The content here is associated with the 78, with nostalgia and the wireless.
 
The blatant jollity of Jessel's Parade der Zinnsoldaten is contrasted with the crooning, golden chimes and stately-sedate luxury of Gold und Silber - the longest track here. The Pierné March is delightfully done. It spins and smiles along with economy-class luggage rather than the aristocratic heaviness of the Lehár. The Gounod Funeral March is a nicely sly and secretive piece which can still surprise with its strange Beethovenian half-lights. Austro-German voices are plenteous here and it's as expected that we get some Strauss in the form of the famous breathless Polka complete with its explosions and Hungarian skirls. Lincke's name is familiar but I did not know the Glühwürmchen-Idyll - great title. It's a ballroom charmer and is delightfully pointed and lifted. Alfvén's cheeky little Polka provides some relief from Teutonic embraces. Waldteufel's Les patineurs washes gently forward, making obeisance to Tchaikovsky and Delibes along the way.
 
Andrew Lamb in his liner-note tells us of the popularity of Heykens' Ständchen between the wars. It has a touch of Binge about it and very welcome too. Padilla's El relicario comes tied with Hispanic ribbons and plenty of flowing Iberian atmosphere. I see that Padilla wrote the songs Valencia and Ça, c’est Paris! for Mistinguett. The waltz arises tireless and permeates the Italian composer, Becucci's Tesoro mio! and shakes over it a bounteous Spanish and Viennese dusting. While it hails from the 1890s its ephemeral fame can be traced back to Britain and the 1950s when it was decked out with English words as Waltzing the Hours Away. Hellmesberger's chattering and flighty Ball-Szene is given a dashing run for its money - a virtuoso outing for the orchestra, although it does eventually find a less hyperventilating pulse for the equivalent of a cooling balcony episode. The Weinberger Schwanda Polka is a voluptuous piece plucked from the opera Schwanda the Bagpiper - recorded complete on Naxos by Wexford forces conducted by Julian Reynolds (review review) and previously on Sony (36926) with a Munich company conducted by Heinz Wallberg. This is just the polka rather than its accustomed companion 'cellmate', the Fugue. Fetrás's Mondnacht auf der Alster comes next. The Alster refers to the Hamburg lakes. The moonlight plays gently over this light waltz yet Fetrás also finds time for those ball-room thunder-crashes. Halvorsen's The entry of the Boyars is the piece which kept his name in the glinting light. There's a touch of Grieg's Mountain King about it. Chandos and Neeme Järvi have recently done Halvorsen proud with a very fine 4 CD box of the orchestral music (CHAN10834-4), rather eclipsing those Norwegian LP era recordings.
 
If after hearing this reissued disc you are looking for more of the same then don't forget Guild's Golden Age of Light Music series - now approaching 140 discs strong and showing no signs of 'getting the stitch'. The present disc complements the same company's American Light Music Classics CDA67067 - still at premium - and the bargain 4-CD boxed set of British Light Music Classics CDS44261/4 - all with the New London Orchestra conducted by Ronald Corp.
 
Corp and the NLO affectionately stir the memories with the musical equivalent of a pleasing grand tour - and nothing too profound.
 
Rob Barnett
 
Full contents list
Leon JESSEL (1871-1942) Parade der Zinnsoldaten [2:53]
Franz LEHÁR (1870-1948) Gold und Silber [8:40]
Gabriel PIERNÉ (1863-1937) Marche des petits soldats de plomb (Movement of Album pour mes petits amis) [2:57]
Johann STRAUSS (1825-1899) Tritsch-Tratsch-Polka [2:45]
Paul LINCKE (1866-1946) Glühwürmchen-Idyll [7:01]
Hugo ALFVÉN (1872-1960) Swedish Polka [2:31]
Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893) Marche funčbre d'une marionnette [4:24]
Émile WALDTEUFEL (1837-1915) Les patineurs [7:43]
Jonny HEYKENS (1884-1945) Ständchen [4:22]
José PADILLA (1889-1960) El relicario [3:04]
Ernesto BECUCCI (1845-1905) Tesoro mio! [7:13]
Joseph HELLMESBERGER (1828-1893) Ball-Szene [5:48]
Jaromír WEINBERGER (1896-1967) Polka (Act 1 Scene 2, Opening of Švanda dudák - 'Schwanda the bagpiper') [2:10]
Oscar FETRÁS (1854-1931) Mondnacht auf der Alster [8:11]
Johan HALVORSEN (1864-1935) Bojarenes inntogsmarsj - 'The entry of the Boyars' [4:43]