Cherry Ripe

John Pitt
New Classics (UK)

Acclaimed Australian conductor Richard Bonynge has spent a lifetime unearthing vocal treasures the world had lost or thought it had outgrown. His latest release from Melba features a captivating collection of 21 pieces from the 18th and 19th centuries, including many never before recorded. Some of the composers, such as Arne, Cimarosa and J.C. Bach and the Neopolitan composer Giovanni Paisollo are seldom performed; others, like Girolamo Crescentini, Nicolas Dalayrac, Stephen Storace, Niccolò Antonio Zingarelli and Marco Antonio da Fonesca Portugallo are virtually forgotten.

Richard Bonynge conducts the excellent Arcadia Lane Orchestra and Australian born soprano Deborah Riedel in such delightful songs and arias as James Hook’s ‘The Nightingale’ and the title track, Charles Edward Horn’s popular ‘Cherry Ripe’. This enchanting journey into neglected musical byways makes a fitting tribute to Deborah Riedel, who sadly died in January 2009, aged only 50. Her gorgeous voice brings great warmth and tenderness to these charming songs and the album is beautifully produced, with attractive artwork, comprehensive lyrics and translations, and sleeve notes by Richard Bonynge.