Vaughan Williams, Canteloube, Beethoven, Schubert, Chabrier, MacDowell, Grieg, Massenet, Debussy, Johann Strauss II
reviewed by Sophie Saxe-Lehrman
|An abiding impression of this compilation is the imaginative choice of works and a willingness to leaven chestnuts with relative rarities. A number of tracks may well be new to some, typically Shepherds’ Song and Shepherds’ Chorus from Schubert’s Rosamunde and Grieg’s Cowkeeper’s Tune to which Willi Boskovsky and the National Philharmonic Orchestra respond as if to the manner born in a recording dating from 1974. Zither virtuoso Anton Karas (for millions of cinema fans inextricably associated with the classic movie The Third Man) teams up with the Vienna Phiharmonic, again under Boskovsky, who, better than most and second to few, make musical magic in a 1962 recording of Strauss’ Tales from the Vienna Woods. And winning efforts by clarinets and cellos make Richard Bonynge’s direction of the National Philharmonic in Sous les tilleuls from Massenet’s Scenes alsaciennes a delight. I liked, too, Kiwi pianist Joseph Cooper’s lovingly fashioned account of MacDowell’s To a Water Lily. Expansive treatment and glowing tone make this a highlight. Kiri te Kanawa, too, enchants in Bailero from Canteloube’s Songs of the Auvergne (Jeffrey Tate conducts the English Chamber Orchestra).