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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Rossini/Britten
LABELS: Decca Ballet Gala
WORKS: La boutique fantasque; Soirées musicales; Matinées musicales
PERFORMER: Rossini arr. Respighi: La boutique fantasque; Britten/ Rossini: Soirées musicales; Matinées musicales
CATALOGUE NO: 444 109-2 DDD (1982)
After taking early retirement from operatic compositions at the age of 37, Rossini went on to produce dozens of delectable piano pieces and songs for the entertainment of himself and his friends. These formed the basis of Respighi’s 1919 ballet score, and the two Britten scores (1936 and 1941) which were choreographed by Balanchine. Richard Bonynge brings out the music’s inherent joie de vivre but cannot disguise the occasionally arch quality of Britten’s versions. With efficient playing from his distinguished sessions orchestra, and vivid (early digital) sound, my chief regret is that the forty-minute span of La boutique fantasque has no interior cue-points. George Hall