Songs by Donizetti, Pacini, Offenbach, Thomas, Mercadente, Campana, Mariani, Elwart, Coppola and Beauplan.

COMPOSERS: Campana,Coppola and Beauplan.,Elwart,Mariani,Mercadente,Offenbach,Pacini,Songs by Donizetti,Thomas
LABELS: Opera Rara
ALBUM TITLE: La Serenata
WORKS: Songs
PERFORMER: Soloists: Susie Beer (cello), Richard Simpson (oboe), David Harper (piano)
Il Salotto, Opera Rara’s pioneering song series, has reached Volume 11 and it would be good to be grateful for all that the late and much missed Patric Schmid achieved with this continuing excavation of 19th century song. Alas, this newest collection falls at several fences and barely makes it to the finishing post. Written for the salon, most of these songs, even when composed by Donizetti or Pacini or Mercadante, are commercial bottom drawer stuff. Ambroise Thomas brings nature into the drawing room elegantly in ‘La soir’ and Campana’s ‘Près de la mer’ mixes sea breezes with the soft murmurings of love, but these are exceptions. Offenbach mocks canary fancying in ‘Si j’étais petit oiseau’ and ‘La galopomanie’, the final track, is a jolly romp round the drawing room, but elsewhere it’s love as usual sighing over the grand piano.Diana Montague and Bruce Ford do their best with this unpromising material, but elsewhere the singing is variable with Majella Cullagh and Elizabeth Vidal well below par. The balance between piano and singer is often uncomfortable and the acoustic cruelly revealing for some of the singers.