on 7 March 2011
This set contains Bonynge's earlier analogue version of 'Coppelia' recorded in 1969 in Geneva and not his later digital version with the National Philharmonic. However, the sound is excellent and the performance equally so. Bonynge is a very fine ballet conductor and his crisp rhythms, fine phrasing, and perfect tempo choices bring out the best of this enchanting score. He has a special affection for nineteenth century French music and this shows in every bar of his interpretation of one of the most popular of ballets. The Swisse Romande were a fine ensemble at the end of the 1960's and their playing here puts to shame that of many better known orchestras.
The filler here is 'Le Carillon' - a short ballet by Massenet first performed at the Vienna Court Opera in 1892. It is a delightful work, full of drama and good tunes, and finds a perfect advocate in Richard Bonynge who here conducts the National Philharmonic Orchestra in a very fine performance from 1983. The Kingsway Hall accoustic is beautifully caught and the digital sound, in this remastering, absolutely first class. I believe this is the work's only recording and, as such, deserves a place in the collections of all who love Massenet's music in particular and ballet music in general.
A fine issue.
on 16 February 2016
Having had the famous Karajan/Berlin Philharmonic recording of the Suite ever since it was issued and having heard Bonynge's excellent recording of Sylvia, I wanted to hear the whole of Coppélia, not just the Suite. Well Bonynge is not Karajan and this is not the Berlin Philharmonic but it is thoroughly enjoyable. If I say that Bonynge is a trifle "bombastic" is not really a criticism, simply to differentiate between Karajan's extraordinary subtlety and refinement and Bonynge's more "punchy" and rumbustious approach. Well worth having!