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CD Review

Tribute to Sir Fred

  • André Messager: Les Deux Pigeons (arr. Lanchbery) - Complete ballet
  • Alan Rawsthorne: Madame Chrysantheme - Complete ballet
  • Franz Liszt: Dante Sonata (arr. Lambert)
  • François Couperin: Harlequin in the Street (arr. Jacob) - Complete ballet
Royal Ballet Sinfonia/Barry Wordsworth
Academy Sound & Vision White Line CDWLS273 2CDs 149m DDD
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This is a most delightful double disc treat of some exquisite ballets that bring back the memory of Sir Frederick Ashton, one of the great impresarios in post War London. The combination of Messager, Rawsthorne, Liszt and Couperin also brings about a fine concoction of entertainment.

Messager's 'Les Deux Pigeons' is one of those ravishing works that you listen to from first note to last enraptured by the beauty of the music. Comparing with Richard Bonynge's famous Decca recording, Wordsworth is perhaps a little mellower but this is still a highly recommendable interpretation.

Liszt's 'Dante Sonata' comes alive in this orchestral version by Lambert whilst Rawsthorne's similarly ebullient ballet titled 'Madame Chrysantheme' is also very fine. Finally there is the Couperin pastiche in Gordon Jacob's fine arrangement that also comes alive in Wordsworth's excellent interpretation. Both discs are packed to the rafters with music and as such deserve nothing less than a wholehearted recommendation.

Copyright © 2004, Gerald Fenech