Melba Recordings

"... a label of fragrant distinction"

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Australian Hi-Fi (Australia)
John Sunier

Young French conductor Tourniaire has a welcome talent for rare and previously unperformed music and these are premiere recordings of tracks 3 to 24. Saint-Saëns wrote 13 operas, but aside from Samson and Delilah they are mostly forgotten. Tourniaire has arranged some of the orchestral music for four of the ballets. The opening two are excerpts from Henry VIII; Ascanio is 12 movements of colourful music in the baroque style. There are six selections in the Etienne Marcel suite: mostly festive dances, often mixing period archaisms with modern styles. The last, from Les Barbares, was designed from a 1901 opera. It’s pleasant to hear such unfamiliar yet melodic and colourful ballet music. Performances and recordings are first-rate.