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Classical; CD RELEASES.

Byline: Norman Stinchcombe

Overtures From The British Isles BBC Wales/Gamb LOVERS of British music will enjoy this collection of eight overtures, all but two of which were composed around 1900.

This was the heyday for the sort of well-crafted orchestral music now largely banished from the concert hall.

The CD's moody cover photograph (Neolithic standing stones at sunset) is misleading, there is no Arnold Bax magic and mystery here, most of the works are unrelentingly jolly: Balfour Gardiner's Overture to a Comedy and Sir Alexander Campbell Mackenzies' overture to Barrie's play The Little Minister are in the "light music" category.

Sir Arthur Sullivan's Macbeth certainly deserves reviving with its Mendelssohn-like Scottish atmosphere and nicely contrasted lightand-dark themes.

Samuel Coleridge Taylor's overture to The Song of Hiawatha is pleasantly folksy and while Frederic Austin's The Sea Venturers is no Flying Dutchman its jolly and rousing.

The BBC National Orchestra of Wales' playing under Rumon Gamba is excellent, captured in wide-ranging sound.

Norman Stinchcombe
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Feb 20, 2014
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