French Opera Overtures

Album cover art for upc 095115231821
Label: CHANDOS
Catalog: CHAN 20318
Format: COMPACT DISC

Estonian National Symphony Orchestra

The nineteenth-century French opera overture was, for many years, looked down on by certain music critics (and musicians). This was largely due to the genre turning its back on historical adherence to strict musical form (such as fugue, sonata form, etc.). Percy Scholes, in the 1955 Oxford Companion to Music, had the following to say: "a cheap but not always ineffective type of opera overture is that of the pot-pourri or medley – little more than a string of tunes from the work to follow." Despite this criticism, these overtures were incredibly popular in their time, and the revival of this repertoire is long overdue. Daniel Auber composed more than fifty operas, some for the Paris Opéra and some for the Opéra Comique. His Grand Opera La Muette de Portici famously sparked the Belgian revolution in 1830, which led to the country’s independence in 1839. Les Cloches de Corneville was by far the most successful of Planquette’s twenty-four operas, receiving some 400 consecutive performances. Alexandre Lecocq’s La Fille de Madame Angot was premièred in Brussels in 1872 and is set in post-revolutionary Paris. The Overture is followed here by numbers put together by Gordon Jacob, in his re-orchestration of material taken mainly from the opera, for Léonide Massine’s ballet Mam’zelle Angot, which closely follows the action of the opera.

Price: $32.98