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Cat. No. CHAN 9765 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 9765 - Tortelier's French Bonbons
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Available From: 25 November 1999
In 1905 a young French music critic, Michel Calvocoressi, was invited to lunch at The Royal Academy of Music in London. ‘I was thoroughly enjoying myself’, he recalled, ‘when across the table Professor Frederick Corder shot at me the question ‘And are the French still exclusively fond of light music?’ Alas I rose to the fly – not with a rush and splash, but enough to be lured away from the safe waters’. While Calvocoressi floundered in too-eager defence of Franck, d’Indy, Fauré and Debussy, Professor Corder grunted dubiously, no doubt mentally making an alternative list: Adam, Offenbach, Thomas and Massenet. It took Sir Thomas Beecham, a generation later, to appreciate this aspect of French musical genius, and when he programmed his ‘lollipops’, as he called them, he lavished great care and attention on them. For the French have always taken their light music seriously. No doubt this penchant for catchy melody, sentimental harmony and glittering orchestration was in part compensation for the harsh realities of a century of revolutions. If the French were to work hard, they were also to play hard. And the ultimate French musical playground, from which most of the works on this recording come, was the opera house. Not for nothing was the Paris Opéra nicknamed the grande boutique!
Reviews

"...a winning selection of familiar and neglected orchestral showpieces from 19th-century France. Under yan Pascal Tortelier, the BBCis on top form ...Full marks for initiative, performance and recording."
Classic FM Magazine - April 2000

"... This disc is a delight from beginning to end, and is recommended without reservation."
Andrew Quint - Fanfare - July/August 2000

"Fun Pieces like the overtures to Herold’s opera Zampa, and to Auber’s The Bronze Horse ... are regularly overlooked on CD. Yan Pascal Tortelier and the BBC Philharmonic are sparkling and idiomatic in these and a dozen other items..."  ****

The Guardian - 4 February 2000
 

                  Editor’s Choice
"...The BBC Philharmonic is on top form (the strings and brass both deserve accolades) and the Chandos recording is top-drawer, vivid resonant and glowing. All in all, a programme to cheer you up on a bleak winter’s dy. Just try La belle Hélène and you’ll be wond over."
Ivan March - Gramophone magazine - March 2000

                  Critics’ Choice
"... Yan Pascal Tortelier’s sparkling cornucopia, with the BBC PO - very much in the Beecham tradition of French Bonbons’: overtures by Adam, Auber, Hérold, Thomas and Offenbach - the delectable La Belle Hélène included - all given demonstration Chandos sound."
Gramophone magazine - January 2001

"... This is delectable music, sizzling entertainment for a sophisticated bourgeoisie... a real toe-tapper that deserves to be a runaway success."
Hugh Canning - The Sunday Times - 30 January 2000

 

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