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DANISH ROMANTIC OVERTURES  Royal Danish Orchestra / Johan Hye-Knudsen  rec AAD late 1960s by EMI Denmark and DMI, and first issued on Fona LP STERLING CDS-1018-2 [51.30]
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EDOUARD DU PUY (1773-1822) Youth and Folly overture 1806 7.43

C E F WEYSE (1774-1842) The Sleeping-Draught overture 1809 4.43

FRIEDRICH KUHLAU (1786-1832) William Shakespeare overture 1826 9.57

J P E HARTMANN (1805-1900) Little Kirsten overture 1846 8.35

PETER HEISE (1830-1879) King and Marshal overture c. 1878 9.49

C F E HORNEMAN (1840-1906) Aladdin fairy tale overture 1863

Until this disc I had never heard of Du Puy. He was educated in Switzerland and Paris and having settled in Copenhagen he made quite a name for himself among the ladies of Copenhagen and among concert-goers. The overture skims through waters much frequented by Mozart and Weber. There is a lightness of spirit straight out of Schubert's first two symphonies and a splash of Beethovenian angst in the introduction and closing bars. By the side of the Du Puy, the Weyse, redolent of Mozart and early Beethoven, seems less inspired although certainly an attraction.

The Kuhlau work is (comparatively) a much more modern work than the Weyse and Du Puy. His original tonalities are both dark and lucid with the Beethoven of the beetling brows (Egmont and Coriolan) never far from home. The fanfares and the fast galloping finale may well have been known to Tchaikovsky before he wrote the Fourth Symphony.

Hartmann's Little Kirsten is a positive charmer with the work announcing itself with the solo harp (later to return) and soon asserting a Mozartian stealth, adding some rustic dances, Mendelssohnian squawls and a wistful tunefulness. A modern dramatic sensibility is apparent in the closing pages. Heise's overture is dramatic, of darker moment and gloomy with the voices of Mendelssohn (Symphonies 3 and 4) and Tchaikovsky apparent either in echo or anticipation. Horneman's Aladdin (is the same play for which Nielsen provided incidental music (lovingly recorded by Chandos in Rozhdestvensky's account) and by Busoni in the finale of his piano concerto. Horneman produces a fine rumpus with darkling clouds skimming the moonlit desert skyline. Mendelssohn and Beethoven (Symphony No. 7) remain presences in this agreeable music which deserves a place alongside The Fair Melusine, Coriolan, Midsummer Night's Dream and Egmont. The central and extremely attractive 'harper's romance' seems to step from a much later era. The closing zestful revels provide links with Berlioz's Byronic Corsair.

The performances are very much in touch with the predominantly fleet (and often Mozartian) elegance of this music and the beefy recording has an apposite weight.



Rob Barnett


Rob Barnett

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