Magazine article Gramophone

Offenbach: Overtures-Barbe-Bleue

Magazine article Gramophone

Offenbach: Overtures-Barbe-Bleue

Article excerpt

Offenbach

Overtures--Barbe-bleue; La belle Helene; La fille du tambour-major; La Grande-Duchesse de Gerolstein; Le mariage aux lanternes; Orphee aux Enters; Vert-Vert; La vie parisienne; Le voyage dans la lune. Les contes d'Hoffmann-Intermede; Barcarolle

Suisse Romande Orchestra / Neeme Jarvi Chandos [F] [DVD] CHSA5160 (78' * DDD/DSD)

This is big-band Offenbach on modern instruments dealing freely with both ensemble sizes and editions, no authentic honeymoon. But Chandos's notes are honest about the four of the 13 selections here in arrangements by hands other than the composer's--Orphee, Belle Helene, Gerolstein and Vie parisienne--and so we seem to have quite a chunk of the music he actually wrote in the order in which he wrote it, more than on many self-proclaimed 'Offenbach Overtures' discs.

An immediate attraction is the 'Snowflakes' ballet from Le voyage dans la lune, an 1875 opera feerie certainly less well known on these shores. As presented here, it has a compulsively listenable range of colour and orchestral effects. These are utterly sensible and musical performances, although the richness of the orchestral sound pushes the style of the music (too) close to the Tchaikovsky ballets that Jarvi has been recording in Bergen. …

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