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Arthur Sullivan: L’île Enchantée: ballet in one (etc) Dutton

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Author Topic: Arthur Sullivan: L’île Enchantée: ballet in one (etc) Dutton  (Read 219 times)
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Frederic Cowen (1852-1935)

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« on: July 02, 2022, 07:32:34 pm »

John Andrews proves himself a ballet-music conductor in the class of Richard Bonynge and John Lanchbery, striking that fine and difficult balance between what might be danceable on the stage and what works in terms of concert tempi. As to the whole programme of the disc, it's a wonderful conspectus of 1860s Sullivan, filling in the gaps between The Tempest, Kenilworth, the Irish Symphony, In Memoriam, Marmion and The Prodigal Son.

The Sullivan Society and, in particular Robin Gordon-Powell, have worked tirelessly to get this repertoire recorded to the highest possible standard. Robin's editing and (where necessary) re-orchestration is exemplary.


An absolute must-buy then. I can testify to the difficulty of conducting for dance, having spent quite a bit of time in the orchestra pit doing so. It's more difficult even than conducting opera. If orchestral musicians are rude about singers, you should hear what they say about dancers! Thus, if John Andrews has nailed it, he has my sincere admiration.

He certainly has: the whole score sparkles in a way which completely eludes Andrew Penny on Marco Polo - nothing is rushed or dragged but just seems to flow naturally at the ideal pace. As for Robin's re-orchestration of the overture to the lost opera The Sapphire Necklace (1863-64), well it just makes me wish that more of the score survived (perhaps it has in other guises), as Sullivan bought it back unperformed from Metzler in 1880 and then it mysteriously vanished...

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"A piece is worth your attention, and is itself for you praiseworthy, if it makes you feel you have not wasted your time over it." (Sydney Grew, 1922)

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