Lance Friedel / Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Great Comedy Overtures

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Overtures from comic operas and operettas are staples of the light music genre, and some of the most popular are included on this 2015 Naxos album by Lance Friedel and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Because of their memorable tunes, exciting pacing, and colorful orchestration, these effervescent pieces were once ubiquitous in the concert hall and on radio and recordings. While many have slipped into semi-obscurity, among them Peter Cornelius' Overture to Der Barbier von Bagdad, and Adolphe Adam's Overture to Si j'étais roi, such perennials as Emil Nikolaus von Reznicek's Overture to Donna Diana, Ferdinand Hérold's Overture to Zampa, Otto Nicolai's Overture to The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari's Overture to Il segreto di Susanna remain favorites and are frequently used to introduce young people to classical music. The 11 selections represent French opéra comique, Viennese operetta, and Italian opera buffa, though the differences in style aren't especially noticeable, except for Domenico Cimarosa's Overture to Il Matrimonio Segreto, which is the sole example from the Classical era. Friedel and his musicians fully communicate the buoyant moods and theatricality of these bon-bons, and the reproduction is clear and detailed, with credible presence and fine separation of parts.

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