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Album Reviews

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Penguin Guide, January 2009

Using her own enthusiastically expanded version of the original commentary, Dame Edna Everage is sure to draw any young possum into the world of the orchestra. Her exuberance offsets any twee moments, and the Melbourne orchestra illustrate vivid instrumental descriptions with splendidly alive and colourful playing. The Naxos recording is excellent and, with its highly enjoyable couplings, this inexpensive triptych is warmly recommendable.

Penguin Guide, January 2009

Penguin Guide review for The Story of Babar, the Little Elephant

Barry Humphries adopts an engagingly cultivated male persona to tell The Story of Babar with an elegance and a sense of innocence which make the narrative seem completely believable, within a children’s world where elephants can assume human vanities and aspirations. He is genial, gently touching and animated by turns, but always stylish; and so is Lanchberry’s matching orchestral accompaniment, which catches the moments of nostalgia and joy with equal sensitivity and flair. The dance after the wedding (in Jean Françaix’s uninhibited scoring) momentarily recalls Les Biches. The effect here is infinitely more involving than the composer’s rather bald, original piano version. Jean de Brunhoff’s tale has never been presented more effectively on record, or better recorded. A delight and very highly recommended, as the couplings are first rate too.

Penguin Guide, January 2009

Penguin Guide review for Peter and the Wolf

If you react adversely to Dame Edna Everage’s exuberantly eccentric persona, the Naxos version cannot be recommended. But for those willing to be included among her possums it is a highly entertaining and very dramatic narrative, with the orchestral accompaniment splendidly paced to match the gripping onward flow of the story. The wolf-horns positively snarl, the flute-birds chirps merrily and the cat-clarinet has a certain elegant insouciance, while the hunter’s guns are like thunder. There are twee moments, but children will readily respond to Dame Edna’s very positive involvement with her characters, and so will most parents. At the close she throws away the humour of grandfather’s grumble but not the childish delight on discovering that the duck is still alive after all, inside the wolf. The couplings are equally splendid.

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"The Winner! A fun and unpretentious version"

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