Suite algerienne, Op. 60, 'La Princess Jaune' - Op.30
Maria Costanza Nocentini Carlo
Cantemus Swiss Italian Orchestra Francis Travis
Chandos CHAN 9837
Francis Travis' recording of the popular Algerian Suite is welcome for its
wholesome rhythmic drive and characteristic pictorials demonstrating the
French African dream. The Reverie du soir is delightfully seductive
and sensuous with an intoxicating viola depicting a typically hot humid night.
There is also much energy in the 'Marche Militaire Francaise' which
concludes the suite in a typically rousing and exciting finish.
In a way, this recording is almost exactly similar to ASV's early 90's recording
with Yondani Butt and the RPO but that is coupled with a rather drily recorded
second symphony. And that is where Chandos score on the coupling. The real
novelty on this disc is obviously the short one-acter, 'La Princess Jaune'
which is delightfully constructed and is obviously worlds away from the
other epic opera, 'Sanson et Dalila'. The overture is one of the
composer's neglected gems, it is breezy and delightfully ebullient in the
best French manner..
The solo parts of Lena and Kornelis are excellently sung by Maria Costanza
Nocentini and Carlo Allemano with the Swiss choir, Cantemus also excellently
portrayed in this live recording. Chandos provide a full libretto and very
intriguing notes whilst the recordings are spectacularly open, although the
Algerian Suite could have done with a little more intimacy. I have no knowledge
of another 'Princess jaune' in the catalogues so collectors should snap up
this issue which is indeed luxury programming.