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Ferdinand Hérold: Zampa: Overture –Le Pré aux Clercs: Overture – Symphonies n° 1 in C major & n° 2 in D major
Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, Wolf-Dieter Hauschild (Conductor)
Recording: RSI Auditorium, Lugano, Switzerland (September 1998) – 54’ 25
Dynamic # DM8028 – Booklet in English

Ferdinand Hérold’s music can be seen as a bridge between the late Classical and early Romantic eras. Program selection moves in a backward time frame, beginning with the Alsatian’s most well known operatic overtures and ending with rudimentary samplings of symphonic works penned on the heels of the awarded Prix de Rome in 1812. Formatting is intriguing since it captures the listener’s attention with Hérold’s most recognizable tunes and then settles on two compositions frequently neglected but worthy of respectful attention.

Veritable Wolf-Dieter Hauschild opens with the effervescent overture to the comic opera Zampa (1831), infused with smatterings of Rossini tenure and swathed in a catchy cadence. Immediately following is the familiar overture from the opéra comique, Le pré aux Clercs (1832) with its entrée of fugue-like dashes and pursuant brassy marching rhythms reminiscent of Daniel Auber’s Fra Diavolo (1830).

Hérold’s first symphony, formally structured with four movements, though not demonstrably sophisticated, nonetheless, puts to use musical teachings received while living in Italy. The “Allegro maestoso” carries Mozartian influences with the likes of turn-of-the-century composers in ensuing movements which are easy to discern and a pleasant journey on the ear. His second symphony begins slowly with the “Largo”, shifting through counterpoint and refreshing impish repeats in ¾ time, then winding up with the “Rondo” bearing a more weighted, personalized style.

Dynamic heightens the importance of Ferdinand Hérold’s music through excellent sound quality and a brilliant rendition by the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana. It would be nice to see their collaborative efforts return featuring a wider range of overtures from Hérold’s lesser known operas for they add delightful dimension and stimulating punch.

Christie Grimstad




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