Three Decca albums of popular Romantic classics remastered complete for CD and compiled for the first time.
Recorded at London’s Kingsway Hall early in 1957 and first released in the US by RCA Victor, ‘Overtures in Spades’ was a collection of operatic openers that enjoyed more popular currency then than they do now: Suppé’s Light Cavalry still features on radio playlists, less so his overtures to Morning, Noon and Night in Vienna or The Queen of Spades, while three 19th-century pieces of polished craftsmanship by Adam, Auber and Hérold are hardly known today.
Reissued as ‘Overture! Overture!’ the album took another 12 years to be incorporated within the Decca catalogue, though the reviewers had enjoyed the dynamic Decca sound of the original recording as well as the full-bodied, exciting performances of a London studio band under the directorship of Raymond Agoult, a seasoned, Hungarian-born conductor of popular and light classics.
In 1958 Agoult and the New Symphony Orchestra made a second record for RCA/Decca – ‘Clair de lune’, featuring gentle Andantes and tender Adagios – by the likes of Debussy, Elgar, Tchaikovsky and Massenet.
Newly remastered from the original tapes, both albums are coupled on this Eloquence reissue with a rare LP of Waldteufel waltzes under the direction of another experienced, British-based session musician, the Australian-born Douglas Gamley. Waldteufel’s art lay in combining the easygoing feel and nostalgic pull of the Viennese waltz with a more brilliant, French style of orchestration: a synthesis that endeared him to English audiences in particular. This collection fills out a portrait of the composer beyond the ubiquitous Skaters’ Waltz to present six further waltzes and a Grenadiers march scored with surprising delicacy.
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‘The recording … is a humdinger, with a resounding lower region, unbelievably powerful dynamics, excellent balance and marvellously sweet string tone.’ High Fidelity, August 1958 (Overtures in Spades)
‘There is plenty of care and musical feeling in the performances … Particularly successful are the Méditation, the Andante cantabile and the Dernier sommeil, in all of which the intense but really quiet string playing is highly commendable.’ Gramophone, June 1960 (Clair de lune)
‘The playing has marvellous life and flair and its spirit is essentially French … the National Philharmonic in spanking form.’ Gramophone, October 1982 (Waldteufel)
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MASSENET - Méditation
TCHAIKOVSKY - Chant sans paroles (FIRST CD RELEASE ON DECCA)
FAURÉ - Pavane
ELGAR - Dream Children
DEBUSSY - Clair de lune (orch. Mouton) (FIRST CD RELEASE ON DECCA)
J.S. BACHBANTOCK - Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme
TCHAIKOVSKY - Andante cantabile
GLUCK - Dance of the Blessed Spirits (FIRST CD RELEASE ON DECCA)
MASSENET - Le dernier sommeil de la Vierge
ADAM - Si jétais roi Overture
AUBER - Les Diamants de la couronne Overture (PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED ON DECCA)
SUPPÉ - Die leichte Kavallerie Overture
SUPPÉ - Ein Morgen, ein Mittag, ein Abend in Wien Overture (FIRST CD RELEASE ON DECCA)
SUPPÉ - Pique Dame Overture (FIRST CD RELEASE ON DECCA)
HÉROLD - Zampa Overture (FIRST CD RELEASE ON DECCA)
ÉMILE WALDTEUFEL - Les Patineurs Waltz *
ÉMILE WALDTEUFEL - Mon rêve Waltz *
ÉMILE WALDTEUFEL - Toujours ou jamais Waltz *
ÉMILE WALDTEUFEL - Les Grenadiers Valse militaire *