Fabulous post-romantic -- with spice!
Christopher Rosevear | Hook, England | 12/14/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Variations on a Nursery Theme are well known, the Suite in F# minor and Veil of Pierrette much less so. Hopefully this recording will set things to right and we shall here these pieces performed in concert more often.If you have a taste for post-romantic music, you must listen to this; all the sumptuous orchestration of Richard Strauss and Franz Schmidt but with a distinctly middle-European flavour and wonderful sense of self-irony.The performance has some of the best wind section playing of recent years -- what was the BBC Northern Orchestra has matured in the BBC Philharmonic into an ensemble that stands with the finest in the world. The woodwind, particularly the reeds, have delicious moments to enjoy and produce a performance that should be every instrumentalist's MUST HAVE list."
All-around great performances
Classic Music Lover | Maryland, USA | 07/09/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Beginning with the rarest item on this CD, the Pierrette's Veil ballet suite is a world premiere -- except for the final Waltz, which is also available on a Mercury CD with Antal Dorati and the Philharmonia Hungarica. The Waltz movement is memorable, but the rest of the score is just okay. The Suite in F# used to be more popular on orchestra concerts "back in the day" -- I even own an old 78 rpm Victor album set dating from the early 1930s. In the early stereo era, the Sir Malcolm Sargent/Royal Philharmonic and Milton Katims/Seattle Symphony versions were the ones to have. This performance is vital and exciting -- tempos are swift and things never have time to lag. The solo passages, of which there are many in this piece, are of virtuoso quality.
Most classical music buffs will be at least a bit familiar with the Nursery Tune Variations (and absolutely everyone will be familiar with the "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" theme). To my mind, Messrs. Shelley and Bamert make their performance the best version available on disk today (although it's hard to beat the classic Julius Katchen/Sir Adrian Boult/LPO recording on London/Decca that dates back to the early days of stereo). Pianist Shelley makes everything sound so fresh and alive, and the orchestral accompaniment by Bamert and the BBC players is sympathetic and spot-on.
This is quite an enjoyable disk of some very pleasant, engaging music -- you will not be disappointed."