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Cat. No. CHAN 0722 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 0722 - Arne: Overtures
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Available From: 01 June 2006
This present collection admirably shows the ingenious simplicity of Arne’s writing, very much in the mid eighteenth-century English pastoral school. At the beginning of 1751, when Thomas Arne published his Eight Overtures in 8 Parts, he had become the leading exponent of English dramatic music and the only Englishman who could offer Handel serious competition in the theatre.

Arne’s Eight Overtures belongs to a tradition of making the instrumental introductions of vocal works available for concert use and divide into two types. Nos 1, 2, 4, 6, 7 and 8 are examples of the older French type that was invented by Lully, was used in England from the 1680s onwards and is found in the majority of Handel’s operas and oratorios. These overtures begin with dignified movements, often marked Largo, that have dotted rhythms, sharp dissonances to push the music along, and ornamental tirades to create a sense of excitement. By contrast, overtures Nos 3 and 5 are really Italian sinfonias. This type of overture was developed in the early eighteenth century by Alessandro Scarlatti and his contemporaries, and usually consists of three movements: a bustling fast movement, a soulful slow movement and a minuet. As Arne’s examples show, the Italian sinfonia was markedly more modern in musical style than the French overture. The final two overtures; Alfred and Thomas and Sally, rarely recorded works, are also examples of the more modern Italian type.
Reviews

"...Very stylish and alert playing from Simon Standage and Collegium Musicum 90, and the sound is vivid and full. An unexpectedly distinctive and enjoyable collection, easy to live with."
The Penguin Guide - 1000 Greatest Classical Recordings 2011-12

Standage captures the poise and gentility, and there’s plenty of scurrying vivacity in the Allegretto to No. 6; and bite , too, in the horn-enriched Overture No. 3. For all Colleguim’s 90’s attentive pointing, however, Arne’s favourite ‘con spirito’ marking is sometimes a tad short-changed – though no in the Giga to No. 6, an Overture distinctly a cut above from first note to last. The recorded sound is invitingly natural.
BBC Music Magazine

Collegium Musicum 90 rarely get the adulation they deserve. This anthology of overtures by Arne, featuring a who’s who of the English period-instrument scene, is a charming disc of beautifully played and brightly executed performances. Simon Standage nurtures affectionate interpretations and his violin playing still perpetuates the impeccable stylishness and musical taste that made his pioneering recordings with the English Concert and The Academy of Ancient Music so enduring.
Gramophone

This is a spirited performance of some very attractive music, so it’s hard to believe that no other rendition is available… This is a great addition to the catalogue with excellent sound and good notes.
American Record Guide

The performances are beautifully rendered, with just the right balance of formality and fantasy. Collegium Musicm 90’s enthusiasm and affection for Arne’s orchestral works should win him the many new admirers he deserves.
International Record Review

This is a spirited performance of some very attractive music, so it’s hard to believe that no other rendition is available. Those familiar with Simon Standage and his work will know that the Collegium Musicum 90 is an early music group. There are moments when the ‘period’ sound is pretty strong, so those who dislike period instruments probably won’t enjoy this programme. But for the most part, it’s easy simply to get caught up in the spirit of this lively, joyful music. This is a great addition to the catalogue with excellent sound and good notes.
American Record Guide

An experienced theatre composer, Thomas Arne knew how to entertain an audience. French overtures, beloved of Purcell and Handel, dominate his 1751 collection of Overtures in Eight parts, tough the fioritura of Italian style can be heard in the G and D major Overtures. The Overture to Thomas and Sally has the hiccupping rhythms of the scotch snap in its gentle gavotte, while the Andante e Piano of the E minor Overture is music to hum as you take the air in Vauxhall Gardens. Under Simon Standage, Collegium Musicum 90 play with supreme elegance, their flutes and oboes delectably soft.
The Independent

 

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