WORKS: A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Complete Incidental Music and Play
PERFORMER: Eirian James; Judith Howarth; John Holbeck; Susan Oliver; Ian SextonScottish Philharmonic Singers; Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Jaime Laredo
CATALOGUE NO: NIM 5041/2 DDD
This is the first time on disc that the words of Shakespeare’s play have been married to Mendelssohn’s music and the prospect of this beguiling match may seem enticing.
But, dramatically, this issue is a non-starter. The acting gets off to a dispiriting start, and although matters begin to improve thereafter it is never more than adequate. Nimbus’s imaginative failure to create a magical soundworld hardly helps.
This is all a great shame, since Jaime Laredo and the SCO give a spirited account of the score. The opening chords of the overture are not as seductive as they could be, but they usher in an alert reading. The Scherzo in particular is bracing in its articulation. The recording is clean and full. Neil Morris