I had already been acquainted with two of these splendid overtures, 'Les Deux Auvegles de Tolede' and the spectacular, 'La Chasse du Jeune Henri' but this collection of overtures is very welcome indeed. Beecham's version of the former overture on Dutton is still indispensable but Sanderling is also very persuasive in obviously much better sound all around. 'La Chasse' is a wonderful example of programme music that culminates in a breathless chase with the young conductor absolutely rampant with his horns and brass, much better than the rather tame Swiercewski on a now defunct Nimbus disc. The other overtures are all extremely varied and melodious showing the virile Méhul's penchant for subtly constructed music. I was enthused by 'Bion' and 'La Tresor Suppose', both fine examples of Méhul's art and the other works, especially, 'Melidore et Phrosine' show that the opera overture was very much advanced in his time. This well filled disc is a fine extension to the previous discs of Gossec symphonies and Grétry that are also conducted by Sanderling on AS&V. The sound is of the highest order throughout and deserves an unqualified recommendation.
Copyright © 2002, Gerald Fenech