One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

Nothing but Praise

BrucKner 4 Nelsons
the finest of recent years.

superb BD-A sound

This is a wonderful set

Telemann continues to amaze

A superb disc

Performances to cherish

An extraordinary disc.

rush out and buy this

I favour above all the others

Frank Martin - Exemplary accounts

Asrael Symphony
A major addition

Another Bacewicz winner

match any I’ve heard

An outstanding centenary collection

personable, tuneful, approachable

a very fine Brahms symphony cycle.

music that will be new to most people

telling, tough, thoughtful, emotionally fleet and powerfully recorded

hitherto unrecorded Latvian music


REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Daniel-François Esprit AUBER (1782-1871)
Opera Overtures - Volume 1
La circassienne (The girl from the Caucasus) (1861) [7:59]
Le cheval de bronze (The bronze horse) (1835) [7:28]
Le domino noir (The black domino) (1837) [7:42]
Fra Diavolo (Brother Devil) (1830) [8:18]
La fiancée (The betrothed) (1829) [7:46]
Les diamants de la couronne (The crown diamonds) (1841) [7:23]
Marco Spada (1852) [9:56]
L'enfant prodigue (The prodigal son) (1850) [7:21]
Orchestre Régional de Cannes/Wolfgang Dörner
rec. 24-26 June 2015, Théâtre Croisette de l’hôtel JW Marriott, Cannes, France
NAXOS 8.573553 [63:53]

Auber is best known for his opera La muette de Portici, premiered in 1828; it wasn’t his first contribution to the genre – that was the one-Act Le séjour militaire of 1813 – but it was the one that took Europe by storm. Not only that, it established a new form, that of grand opera, soon to be embraced by the likes of Gioachino Rossini and Giacomo Meyerbeer. Although Auber’s operas have fallen out of favour the overtures haven’t; those to Fra Diavolo, Le domino noir and Le cheval de bronze come to mind. It’s the kind of effervescent repertoire that Ernest Ansermet and Albert Wolff did so well. Indeed, several of the overtures in this Naxos collection can be found on the vintage Decca set Overtures in Hi-Fi (review).

The Cannes orchestra and their Viennese-born music director Wolfgang Dörner are new to me, but then this label has made a virtue of showcasing the talents of regional bands and baton wavers. This partnership has also recorded what Goran Försling dubbed a ‘wholly charming’ disc of dance pieces by Joseph Lanner (review). Of course, collections such as these are best sampled in small doses, especially when the material is generally so lightweight. That said, Ansermet et al make it all too easy to get through a box of sweeties in a single sitting.

In such illustrious company Dörner and his band have plenty to prove. Alas, first impressions are not encouraging. For a start, the playing lacks character; even more dispiriting are the unsubtle phrasing and dogged rhythms, both fatal in such buoyant repertoire. As if that weren’t bad enough the sound is pretty dismal. I suspect that’s because the hall has the acoustic properties of a barn; the bass is boomy, textures are smeared, and there’s far too much reverb and resonance. This might do for a weekend matinee, but it won’t do here. In short, a wasted opportunity.

There’s little charm or charisma in this collection; dreadful sonics, too.

Dan Morgan



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger