Utah Symphony/ Thierry Fischer
Hyperion CDA68324 (80:33)

Is another version of the main work on this album really needed? When it is as terrific as this, the answer is: yes! Not having listened for some time to the seven versions I already own, coming to it afresh I am bowled over by what a remarkable work it is.

Although this is not light music, it definitely fits the bill for consistently melodious classical music … and in the absence of pure light music releases, that it what I try to recommend in these reviews.

You may have already noted that the disc length is well over the nowadays all too often less than 60 minutes. There are nearly 26 minutes of three quality "filler" items – all new to me, and I guess, many others – which are the icing on the cake and make the CD a best buy.

The first is a lovely Rêverie et Caprice played by the multi-Grammy-nominee violinist Philippe Quint. This is followed by two equally beautiful choral pieces: La Mort d'Ophélie and Sara la beigneuse. These are performed by the orchestra with the Utah Symphony Chorus and University of Utah Chamber Choir.

The recording was made in the Hall named after Maurice Abravanel (conductor of the Utah Symphony Orchestra for 32 years from 1946) in Salt Lake City, Utah, in February 2019.

Interestingly, the main work is closely associated with the Swiss maestro Thierry Fischer (born 1957 in Zambia) – who had been a principal flautist – as it was his audition piece when the orchestra was looking for a new music director in 2009. He was also principal conductor of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales from 2006 until 2012, and appeared every year at the BBC Proms.

Readers might also like to investigate Hector Berlioz’s attractive overtures.

© Peter Burt 2020

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