R Strauss • Lully

BBC Music Magazine - - Orchestral Reviews -

R Strauss: Der Bürger Edel­mann Lully: Le bour­geois gen­til­homme – ex­cerpts

Nor­we­gian Cham­ber Orches­tra/ Terje Ton­nesen

Lawo LWC 1143 57:36 mins

This charm­ingly con­ceived CD links num­bers from Lully’s in­ci­den­tal mu­sic to Molière’s

Le bour­geois gen­til­homme with a work for which it in part pro­vided the in­spi­ra­tion nearly 250 years later, Strauss’s suite Der Bürger als Edel­mann. The mu­sic from Le bour­geois gen­til­homme, pre­miered in 1670, in­cludes the over­ture and the more colour­ful dances in­clud­ing a fair few from the ‘Bal­let des Na­tions’ which con­cludes the com­edy. Although the Nor­we­gian Cham­ber Orches­tra is not an authen­tic in­stru­ment band, they cer­tainly play stylishly, par­tic­u­larly in solo sec­tions, and clearly rel­ish the var­i­ous em­bel­lish­ments of the out­line of Lully’s or­ches­tra­tion .

Strauss’s Suite had its ori­gins in the rather tor­tured his­tory of his opera Ari­adne, which was orig­i­nally con­ceived as a sub­sti­tute for the ‘Bal­let des Na­tions’ in a ver­sion of Molière’s play with in­ci­den­tal mu­sic by Strauss. After var­i­ous trans­for­ma­tions, the Suite ac­quired in­de­pen­dent life in 1918 and is a fine ex­am­ple of the way in which many early 20th-cen­tury com­posers turned to the Baroque to in­vig­o­rate their mu­si­cal lan­guage. There is a cer­tain amount of Baroque pas­tiche in the Over­ture with its bustling fig­u­ra­tion and spikey pi­ano con­tinuo. Else­where there is camp ex­trav­a­ganza, no­tably in the ‘En­try of the Fenc­ing Mas­ter’ and the ‘Dance of the Tailors’ where the soloists of the band make the most of their am­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties. None of this is great mu­sic, but it is al­ways di­vert­ing and in this lively, if not al­ways f law­less per­for­mance, a con­stant de­light. Jan Smaczny PER­FOR­MANCE ★★★★ RECORD­ING ★★★★

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