Great Comedy Overtures

Great Comedy Overtures—Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Lance Friedel (Naxos 573418)

It’s hard to disagree with David Hurwitz of “They don’t write ‘em like this anymore,” begins his ArkivMusic review. “This splendid program of comedy overtures spans more than a century, from Cimarosa’s Il matrimonio segreto to 1792 or Wolf-Ferrari’s Susanna’s Secret of 1909. Funny how these two bookends both involve secrets, isn’t it? Along the way we get just about every popular favorite that appeared in the intervening years, from Hérold’s Zampa to Nicolai’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, not forgetting Thomas’ Mignon, Flotow’s Martha, Auber’s Fra Diavolo, Reznicek’s Donna Diana, Lortzing’s Zar und Zimmermann, and wrapping up with Peter Cornelius’ The Barber of Baghdad. Sadly many of these delightful works, which used to grace “pops” programs both live and on disc, are familiar no longer, so all credit to Naxos and conductor Lance Friedel for offering seventy-nine minutes’ worth of them here…As I said, they don’t write ‘em like this anymore–heck, no one names their kid Adolph anymore either, for depressingly obvious reasons. The world has changed. Happily, we can enjoy this generous, extremely well played and well-engineered program to remind us of times past.”

Featured Wed 1/6, Wed 1/20 (originally featured in May 2015)

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