ddv 24110     "Gramophone" Critics' Choice 2004
cd image


conducted by Mart Sander

Selections from:
The Cingalee (first ever recording)
The Arcadians
The Quaker Girl (first modern recording)
See also 'The Finck Album' for more Delicious English Edwardian light music!


Arcadians - Charming Weather (extract)






Lionel Monckton was a leading composer of stage musical or operetta in the early 20th century. His "Arcadians" has retained a great deal of popularity as have some songs from other shows. His music is infectious, tuneful and memorable, as demonstrated by these three condensed shows. "The Arcadians" was co-composed with Howard Talbot and "The Cingalee" with Paul Rubens.

Theatre Bel-Etage is a leading company in Estonia, who have dedicated themselves to the English stage musical and "Variety" style of Victorian and Edwardian days. Even though not English themselves they have created a fine reputation, even performing Sullivan's "Cox & Box" in London to great acclaim.

Soloists: Pirjo Levandi, Jeanne Sevchenco, Mart Sander, Mariliina von Uexkull, Julie Lill, Oliver Kuusik and Annika Tönuri, with the Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by Mart Sander

review extracts: for full reviews click here
“Delicious music…sheer joy. Full of gems, brilliant CD” – Denby Richards (Musical Opinion)
“This recording is a worthwhile collector's item… This genre is so much a part of Britain's heritage… a distinctive charm that should not be underestimated. This is an enjoyable and well recorded disc. I find the quality of the singing excellent with warm sopranos providing good expression, a distinctive tenor and resonant baritone, as well as the support of an excellent chorus.” – Raymond Walker (MusicWeb)
“The melody man long neglected at home finds some champions in Estonia…marvellous melodies…quite delightful.. Mart Sander demonstrates…how well-shaped and heartfelt Monckton’s melodies could be. Mariliina von Uexküll’s sweet-toned soprano is no less winning…an enterprising and delightful issue” – Andrew Lamb (Gramophone)
“The tunes are all attractive, the lyrics pleasant and sometimes even clever… [Theatre Bel-Etage are] a wonderful group… a personable group of principals and a very good chorus. I can recommend it as miles above the scores of musicals today. I found this set a breath of fresh air. You will too” – Frank Behrens (Amazon.com / Showcase)

“The music is full of attractive tunes, evocative, if retro, sentiments in the librettos and a good balance between solo, ensemble and chorus. There is a sense of fun from virtually the first to the last. The enunciation, clarity and mood are near-perfect. Divine Art Recordings Group has made a major contribution to British Light Opera with this fine exploration of Lionel Monckton's music. I was delighted with the sound quality on this CD: the ambience is ideally suited to this kind of music.” – John France (MusicWeb)

“All three stage comedies are presented as selections… the judgement is invariably astute and the selections are unjoltingly cleverly constructed. When it comes to The Arcadians’ song "My Motter" Sander proves a dab hand at Estonian Cockney and at playing the lush and Mariliina von Uexküll proves to have a fine, flexible voice with operatic-soubrettish quality (good coloratura as well) as she copes neatly with her tongue-twisting song "Pipes of Pan" – not easy to do even if your first language is English. There are plenty of opportunities for character singing and acting here and the orchestra has a good supportive opportunity in "Arcady is Ever Young". The principals and band prove worthy ambassadors for this music. ” - Jonathan Woolf (MusicWeb)
“a wealth of easy melodies… Monckton had a remarkable facility for catchy songs… it’s wonderful to hear [these musicals].. the wonderful score [The Arcadians] enchants in an attractive medley. Truly bewitching. I have been waiting for decades to hear [The Quaker Girl] and I have liked nearly everything I have heard from this score” – American Record Guide