National Ballet Orchestra, Pietro Garda
Regis RRC1286 (74’37)
If you are a lover of light music but have never seriously considered listening to ballet music, then this is the disc for you. At a super-budget price, it is chockfull of good tunes. Those of us who are familiar with this genre of music may also find something here that is not already in our CD collections. For me such a piece, with its whooping French horns, is Les Chasseresses (The Huntresses) from the ballet ‘Sylvia’ by the French composer Delibes, that had recently caught my ear on Classic FM.
There are 19 tracks in all with the other composers featured being Russian born Tchaikovsky (including Nutcracker Suite), the French Adolphe Adam (‘Giselle’ Waltz), the German Weber (Invitation to the Dance), and the Italian Ponchielli (Dance of the Hours from ‘La Gioconda’).
In 1980, Brian Culverhouse, the former EMI sound engineer and producer, had been invited to take his first digital recording equipment to Milan by the Italian conductor Pietro Garda, who gathered musicians from various of the city’s orchestras to make this album. James Murray’s informative three-page liner notes on the music are dated 2007, but I can find no other details of any earlier release prior to this one.
Performance, recording and presentation all belie its low price. An ideal candidate for under the Christmas tree, I’d say.