Barcarole: Favourite Orchestral Pieces is a generous collection of Romantic gems performed by Neville Marriner and the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, including popular selections by Georges Bizet, Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky, Jacques Offenbach, Jules Massenet, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Charles Gounod, and Benjamin Godard. Because the music is mostly taken from famous operas and ballets, the album offers a mix of highly colorful and serenely beautiful pieces, though all of them are extremely tuneful and memorable.
The re-master of a 1974 Decca Record recording is excellent in execution and style. Neveille Marriner and St. Martin-in-the-Fields perform in their typical excellent manner.
There are many apocryphal stories in the classical-music world, but the one in which Frederick the Great challenged Bach to improvise a six-part fugue on a theme of the king's own invention is true, and The Musical Offering was, after a period of further reflection, the result. As with all the works of Bach's later years, the work is both great art and a "teaching piece," which shows everything that he thought could be done with the king's theme. The Trio Sonata based on the theme is the only major piece of chamber music from Bach's last decades in Leipzig, and that makes the work and essential cornerstone of any Bach collection. This performance, led by Neville Marriner, is both polished and lively, and very well recorded. At a "twofer" price, coupled with The Art of Fugue, it's the preferred version of the work on modern instruments.
There are many anthologies of late nineteenth and early twentieth century English music available but this collection from Decca is one of the finest. Neville Marriner directs the Academy of St Martins-in-the-Fields in a programme of popular favourites and lesser known works collected from a number of LP's recorded between 1968 and 1981. The late analogue Decca sound is superb and the orchestra and conductor are totally in tune with the music.