The Beggar’s Opera/ Epstein Theatre
TOMORROW and Sunday, the RLPO presents an opera by a composer who never wrote a note of music.
John Gay was a librettist who collected and dramatised popular ballads of the day and expected his cast to sing them unaccompanied!
Fortunately, somebody has always arranged a supporting group and this week Benjamin Britten provides the backing.
The satirical plot of early 18th century London low life will be familiar to those who know The Threepenny Opera of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, although Mack the Knife retains his original identity of Macheath, highwayman.
Members of the European Opera Centre and Royal Northern College of Music will be on stage, directed by Bernard Rozet and Richard Farnes comes from Opera North to conduct.
A Hey Nonny Nonny good time will no doubt be had by all.
Turina Orchestral Works – BBC Philharmonic (Chandos)
BASQUE conductor Juanjo Mena is on home ground in this collection from Chandos of the orchestral music of Joaquin Turina.
The BBC Philharmonic has Clara Mouriz the mezzo soprano soloist in the Poems in the Form of Song, which have a strong Andalusian feel and she also appears in Farruca (Daring) which is really a male dance. The orchestra brings more idiomatic playing to the Sinfonia Sevillana and Ritmos (Rhythms) and the programme opens with a favourite of mine, The Fantastic Dances, although this doesn’t eclipse a previous Manchester version at the hands of Halle and Barbirolli. That was over 60 years ago although still available.
Chausson Concert – Jennifer Pyke (Chandos)
VIOLINIST Jennifer Pyke joins pianist Tom Poster and the Doric String Quartet for Concert by Chausson, a 40-minute romantic rarity for sextet. Sadly, the composer’s life was cut short at the age of 44 when he fell off his bicycle and died from his injuries.
Clearly its instrumentation makes it an awkward piece to programme, making this CD all the more welcome. The Doric Quartet complete the programme with his Quartet of 1898 which was left to be completed after the cycle accident by Vincent d’Indy. Altogether this is a lovely disc.
Duke Ellington – Black, Brown and Beige (Naxos)
NO DOUBT, Jo Ann Falletta can make the Buffalo Philharmonic swing in these symphonic arrangements of music by Duke Ellington.
Harlem, The River, “A” Train and the title Suite are here, but purists will complain (rightly) that Ellington wrote for his own brilliant group of musicians and the only way to hear much of this music is when played by the original Ellington band.