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David Hurwitz, June 2011

The playing here is generally excellent, but in the Freischütz Overture you miss the heavy-duty atmosphere of German romanticism: the opening is evocative but the allegro needs more sheer weight, particularly in the strings (those tremolos under echoing horns and clarinet). That said, the very same lightness benefits the fairyland textures of Oberon, while Jean-Jacques Kantorow’s rhythmic zest captures the Spanish flavor of Preciosa very effectively. And there’s no questioning the gusto or the brilliant orchestral effects so impressively captured in Turandot and Abu Hassan. Let’s face it: 67 vibrant minutes of some of the most splendid music ever composed for the theater, naturally recorded, is hard to resist. Give it a shot.

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