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Orchestre de la Suisse Romande / Neeme Järví

Chandos CHSA 5160

Another excellent release at the lighter end of the classical spectrum from this label. Jacques Offenbach has been variously described as irrepressible, exhilarating, exuberant, and sparkling with fellow composer Rossini calling him “The Mozart of the Champs-Elysées.” His tuneful, witty music captivated his Parisian public [he was born in Germany] during the 19th century and remains very popular throughout the world today. This album has 77¾ minutes of mainly operetta overtures – of which he wrote 90 – beginning with the familiar Orpheus in the Underworld and ends with La Vie parisienne. Also included are the Intermède andBarcarolle from ‘The Tales of Hoffman’, his unfinished foray into grand opera. Interestingly one of his librettists, Henri Meilhac, also wrote the libretto for Bizet’s ‘Carmen’. The orchestra is in fine form under its veteran conductor who, as well as being honoured with many international prizes and accolades, has been named as one of the ‘Estonians of the Century.’ With superior sound as always from this Colchester-based company, unreservedly recommended. Peter Burt



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