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Posted October 1, 2010
Three months after volume 1, here's volume 2 in Naxos's complete orchestral works. I think there's 3 (or maybe 4) more discs to come. This one offers 5 first recordings as well as more familiar fare such as The Waltzing Cat. I enjoyed volume 1, my fears that I would suffer an overdose of too-sweet light music proving unfounded. Importantly, Anderson's gift for a good tune was accompanied by great skill as an orchestrator, so there's always plenty of variety and the idiom doesn't pall. The music is very much of a particular time - to someone such as myself who was born around the time of the latest compositions on this album, Anderson's music always conjures up images of a fifties America that seems long gone. Those pieces from 1970, then, certainly don't sound like 1970 (the year of, for example, George Crumb's Black Angels and Philip Glass's Music With Changing Parts). Fortunately, music may change but popular taste isn't obliged to change with it, and I suspect there's a new audience out there now for a proper Anderson revival. As for this volume, I find I enjoyed it even more than its predecessor. Why this might be, I'm not sure - there just seemed to be more highlights. Or perhaps the BBC Concert Orchestra were more settled in the idiom - these pieces were recorded a year after the first volume. Anyway, the highlights include some of the premieres, such as the nice bright Woodbury Fanfare that kicks off the disc, the oddly baroque-sounding Whistling Kettle, and the Lullaby of the Drums, which is guaranteed not to send anyone to sleep. Another gem is the March of the Two Left Feet, a manic dance with tricky off-beat percussion. The disc ends with 2 examples of Anderson's orchestrations of music not his own: Song of Jupiter is a version of Handel's Where'er You Walk, with trumpet, and the Suite of Carols is - well, you can probably work that out yourself (unusually for Naxos, the individual pieces aren't separately tracked here). So, if you're already an Anderson fan there's no need to hesitate, and if you've not yet sampled the series, I'd recommend this ahead of volume 1 (which is also recommended!).Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.