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Barnes & Noble, October 2008

Naxos launched its American Classics series from overseas, but they have begun to dig deeper into the forgotten byways of American music than most American labels have dared. In the case of Creole composers Charles Lucièn Lambert Sr. and his son Lucièn-Léon Guillaume Lambert Jr., this seems especially appropriate, for like the most famous New Orleans-born Creole composer, Louis Moreau Gottschalk, the Lamberts earned their contemporary fame abroad (primarily in France but also in South America and Portugal). Anyone who enjoys Gottschalk's confections will find the Lamberts' music a delight. Charles Lucièn's waltzes, galops, and caprices are very much in the Gottschalk/Chopin tradition, while his son, who studied with Massenet in Paris, branches off into more delicate harmonic waters. In addition to piano works, performed by a variety of participants from the Hot Springs Music Festival, there are two songs by Lambert Jr., as well as an overture from his full-blown grand opera on the King Arthur legend, "Brocéliande," that's imbued with an undertow of Wagner, like Ernest Chausson's Arthurian works of the same era. A companion disc devoted to music by another Creole composer, Edmond Dédé, provides similar pleasures.

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