Forgotten Dreams [arr. Robert Wendell]
Belle of the Ball
A Christmas Festival
MacDowell, arr. Anderson
To a Wild Rose
Kim Criswell (soprano) & William Dazeley (baritone)
BBC Concert Orchestra
Recorded 3-5 September 2007 in The Colosseum, Watford, England
Reviewed by: Colin Anderson
Reviewed: September 2008
CD No: NAXOS 8.559381
Duration: 60 minutes
The Irish Suite consists of some well-known ditties. It’s time to jig! Leroy Anderson knew how to dress a borrowed tune for the orchestra. Arrangements are the kernel of this the fourth volume of his orchestral music. It’s not all the Irish equivalent to dancing around the maypole, though, for ‘The Minstrel Boy’ tugs at the heartstrings; there’s variety too, of metre and of scoring.
Nor is it all folksongs. To a Wild Rose, as scored by Anderson for strings and harp, emerges as Grieg’s third Elegiac Melody. Summer Skies is very contented.
We then journey to Scotland for music recognisably from ‘north of the border’, the arrival of ‘The Campbells’ brought off with a party atmosphere! Three Anderson classics follow, each with a voice added (and all recorded for the first time). Not sure about these – these gems work so well on orchestra alone – but they are part of the Anderson canon and if Kim Criswell’s timbre (in Blue Tango and Forgotten Dreams) is not ideal (if inimitable), the ‘pop song’ potential of both is well brought off, particularly Blue Tango. Belle of the Ball cues William Dazeley for a swirling duet with Criswell, suggesting just a little some of Busby Berkeley’s choreography.
Alma Mater revises Harvard Sketches (to be found on the previous release in this series) in both movement-title and musical content; all good fun. ‘Library Reading Room’ has the requisite hush and forty winks, and some noises off! A Christmas Festival is a medley of musical fare associated with the end of the year. You’ll recognise the tunes!
Suffice it to say that the BBC Concert Orchestra and Leonard Slatkin are welcoming musical hosts and the recording is excellent.