Melba Recordings

"... a label of fragrant distinction"

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New Classics (UK)
John Pitt

Also new from Melba Recordings is another beautifully produced and packaged SACD featuring ballet music from neglected operas by Saint-Saëns, Elan (MELBA MR301130). Young French maestro Guillaume Tourniaire conducts Orchestra Victoria, imbuing this lost music with great energy, love and lifeforce. This is a rare chance to discover many of Saint-Saëns’ exquisitely orchestrated and colourful musical jewels; ballet divertissements – from Henry VIII, Ascanio, Etienne Marcel and Les Barbares – that embody the essence of good taste and refinement beloved of belle époque France. Saint-Saëns’ passion for historic subjects led him to rework archaic music into masterful pastiches imbuing the imagined past of his operas with scenes of dramatic splendour and emotional depth. The resultant pieces are evocative, often exciting, melodic masterpieces in miniature. As Hugh Macdonald notes in the accompanying booklet, ‘To assemble a selection of orchestral music from the unfamiliar operas is to confront a treasure-trove of colorful and expressive music reflecting the tastes and fashions of belle époque France.’