GREAT COMEDY OVERTURES How tired some librarians or reviewers must get at being asked, “What’s a good book for me?” or “What recording has enjoyable music?” or inane questions like that. But in answer to that “enjoyable music,” I have many recommendations, one of which is a brand new Naxos CD titled “Great Comedy Overtures.”
Of the countless operas and operettas that enjoyed glorious reputations and are done no more, many of them have left their overtures to be played at “pops” concerts and as fillers for LP and then CD collections, such as this one. With few exceptions, none of the 11 works on this disc are revived at all outside of their countries. But each one is a gem of tuneful delights.
The overtures in this program are from “Zampa” (Herold), “The Merry Wives of Windsor” (Nicolai), “Il segreto di Susanna” (Wolf-Ferrari), “Mignon” (Thomas), “Donna Diana” (Reznicek), “Martha” (Flowtow), “Fra Diavolo” (Auber), “Zar und Zimmerman” (Lortzing), “Il matrimonio segreto” (Cimarosa), “Si j’etais roi” (Adam), and “Der Barbier von Bagdad” (Cornelius).
Yes, people of a certain age or a collector of old-time radio broadcasts on CDs will recognize the “Donna Diana” overture as the open theme music of “Sgt. Preston of the Yukon.” The fact that the “Zampa” overture was played at my Junior High School graduation is neither here nor there.
The Royal Scottish National Orchestra is led by Lance Friedel. Have fun.