Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Music Webmaster Len Mullenger:


La Jolie Fille de Gand (complete ballet)
Queensland Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Andrew Mogrelia)
(recorded 26 February & 1 March, 1996)
Marco Polo 8.223772-73 (two discs) [132:51]

Adolphe Adam (1803-56) was one of those 19th century composers whose operatic conveyor-belt rarely halted even for an overhaul (he composed more than 70). He also wrote a fair number of ballets: Giselle, his best-known, has remained a firm favourite since its triumphant premiere in 1841 but La Jolie Fille de Gand, which enjoyed equal success a year later, has long been forgotten. This is its world premiere recording.

A fluent melodist, skilful orchestrator (within limited parameters) and a master of dance form, Adam evolved a winning formula which, like all of his kind, he proceeded to exploit remorselessly. No doubt this score worked well in the theatre of its day (its feeble plot may be the reason for its subsequent neglect) but few complete ballets can stand up in the concert-hall (Stravinsky being the obvious exception) and this is certainly not one of them. Lasting well over two hours (whichever of the three different timings scattered in the otherwise helpful accompanying booklet is chosen - there are also marked discrepancies in the timings of individual tracks), the music simply lacks the weight and variety to sustain interest for that length of time, and one wonders what sort of listener the disc seeks to attract.

The Queensland Orchestra tackles this undemanding score with spirit and style (it possesses an outstanding principal oboe) and the sound is bright if at times a touch over-reverberant.

Adrian Smith



Return to Index

Reviews from previous months

You can purchase CDs, tickets and musician's accessories and Save around 22% with these retailers: - The UK's Biggest Video Store Concert and Show tickets
Musicians accessories
Click here to visit