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Elliot Fisch
American Record Guide, May 2018

Conductor Ang has the light touch to make these overtures as frothy as possible…

The sound is very good, though there is a little too much echo and the clarity suffers when the music is played so fast. If you want to sample Offenbach’s delightful music, particularly the rare items, I can recommend this. If you already enjoy Offenbach, this is icing on the cake. © 2018 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Raymond Tuttle
Fanfare, May 2018

Other Offenbach discs tend to treat the music as an excuse to show off either the orchestra (or the conductor’s control over it) or the recording technology. The results are often brilliant, but less often warm. These performances are neither the best played nor the most exciting (as a sonic experience per se) but I am not disappointed in them. They have a relaxed charm. For example, the waltz section of La belle Hélène is genial, and I also am hearing details that I had not been aware of previously, such as harp glissandos at and just before the two-minute mark. Very few of the all-Offenbach discs that I’ve heard involve a French orchestra. This one does, and perhaps that makes a difference. © 2018 Fanfare Read complete review, January 2018

The overtures conducted by Darrell Ang on a new Naxos CD featuring Orchestre National de Lille are all quintessential Offenbach, all tuneful and charming and easily dismissible as trifles by anyone unaware of the underlying plots of the works they introduce. …Ang deserves credit for including a rarity on the CD: Ouverture à grand orchestra is very early Offenbach indeed, dating to 1843, when the composer was just 24. It is the only non-theatrical work on the disc, and while it lacks the sheer impulsiveness and melodic beauty of the introductions to the later stage works, it already shows how much promise as a composer was possessed by the young Offenbach—who was at the time primarily a cellist. Listeners seeking pleasure without any particular experiential depth will certainly gravitate to this disc. © 2018 Read complete review

Christie Grimstad, December 2017

What’s not to like about Jacques Offenbach? With an active, energetic mind, this German-born-turned-Parisian offered delight on many levels that sparked a smile (or two) to those living back in the 19th century as well as audiences in the now. And whilst a sort of formulaic equation settled into his musical cerebrum, they’re vast opportunities for elicitations through the conductor himself. Having personally witnessed the technique of Darrell Ang in Orange County in March, one can see a generalized sense of balance and shifts in pacing predicated upon the composition at hand.

The beauty therein lies within some of the more esoteric compositions, one being Monsieur et Madame Denis. Structurally, this parallels that of La Fille du tambour-major, and aside from tinny sounds in the opening bars, the remaining parlance speaks in Offenbach effervescence, especially the chaconne’s flute entrée. Dialogue between woodwinds and strings generate a lively chatterbox found inside L’Île de Tulipatan. Spritely ebullient, the oboe politely introduces the middle section. National Orchestra of Lille’s strides are catchy. © 2017 Read complete review

Records International, December 2017

Offenbach is best remembered for his operettas, but the dramatic Ouverture a grand orchestra of 1843 (12:52 in this recording) is a rarely heard, stand-alone early piece that presages his future in musical theatre. … © 2017 Records International

Blair Sanderson, December 2017

…Darrell Ang leads the Orchestre National de Lille in a program of tuneful overtures from the operettas of Jacques Offenbach. Initially, Offenbach gave his stage works short musical introductions, but later wrote full-fledged overtures for them, largely to cater to the taste of his Viennese audiences. While most of Offenbach’s 100 operettas and one-act pieces have become obscure, many of their overtures survive as concert bonbons. The program offers a few overtures assembled by other hands, such as Orphée aux enfers (arranged by Carl Binder and Johann Georg Busch), La Belle Hélène (arranged by Eduard Haensch), the “Kakadou” Overture from Vert-Vert (arranged by Fritz Hoffman), and several that are credited to Offenbach himself, including the overtures to La Vie parisienne, La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein, and La Fille du tambour-major, as well as a work from his youth, the Ouverture á grand orchestre. This rarity predates Offenbach’s theatrical ventures, and shows the 24-year-old composer attempting a concert work in the early Romantic style of Weber. Yet the melodies of Offenbach’s mature works are what most aficionados cherish, and the album provides many examples of the infectious tunes that prompted Rossini to call Offenbach “the Mozart of the Champs-Élysées.” © 2017 Read complete review

Dan Morgan
MusicWeb International, November 2017

Need a lift? Then try Offenbach’s catchy curtain-raisers. Elegant, effervescent and hugely entertaining, they seldom fail to please. This newcomer is especially welcome, as Darrell Ang’s New Zealand Symphony recording of Meyerbeer overtures and entr’actes was such a hit that I made it one of my Recordings of the Year in 2014. Since then, I’ve heard him direct the Royal Philharmonic and Alexandra Dariescu in a most rewarding performance of Tchaikovsky’s first piano concerto. Both albums have convinced me Ang is a baton waver of good sense and good taste, and that’s always a good start.

Ang is a natural in this repertoire; inspired playing and top-notch sound, too. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Remy Franck
Pizzicato, November 2017

Darrell Ang develops a good feeling and taste for Offenbach’s music. The Lille Orchestra’s playing is lively and colourful… © 2017 Pizzicato

David Denton
David's Review Corner, November 2017

Jacques Offenbach was the creator of French operetta as we know it today, though it proved a difficult task as the Paris Opera-Comique did not want his comic genre. Though it is often said that he wrote almost a hundred such works, many of his early scores were just short one-act buffooneries, and he was almost forty before he had success with a full-length French classical operetta, Orphee aux enfers (Orpheus in the Underworld), where he introduced the world to the Can-Can. This new disc contains the overtures to eight of his most successful works written over a period of nineteen years and through to the last operetta staged during his lifetime, La Fille du tambour-major. Being an Offenbach addict leaves me with some preconceived ideas, not least that French conductors of yesteryear had this music in their lifeblood, and so I cling tenaciously to my old LP of overtures conducted by Jean Martinon. Today the music has become internationalised and French orchestras no longer have their very individual sounds. This new release from Lille, with a young Singapore-born conductor, Darrell Ang, has much to commend it as he coerces the orchestra into some vivacious and frothy moments. I guess he has not seen the operettas as his tempos do not always reflect those of the arias quoted in the overtures, and the beginning of the The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein, needed a more military feel. Still its all good fun with the orchestra in fine form, and there are not that many rival discs around. Finally as a novelty we have the rarely heard Ouverture a grand orchestre, an early piece completed at the age of 24. Well balanced sound quality. © 2017 David’s Review Corner

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