It’s often been said that the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra is one of Australia’s best kept secrets. This nimble outfit tackles a vast range of repertoire with the greatest ease. While Viennese waltzes might not be seen as the height of musical sophistication, they are deceptively challenging, and when performed well can be the perfect antidote to a miserable mood. While this compilation headlines Johann Strauss II, it also features equally charming selections from Josef Strauss, Franz von Suppé and Franz Lehár to round out the collection.
The album is peppered with items that feature soprano Lorina Gore, who is in her element throughout. A particular highlight is the Lehár item, Giuditta’s Meine lippen, sie küssen so heiß, where she showcases the lovely colour in the lower depths of voice. The Tasmanian orchestra is in fine form and conductor Marko Letonja demonstrates his versatility throughout, choosing careful tempo relationships that allow these delicate waltzes to truly sing.
The wistful and elegant opening to the work Seid umschlungen, Millionen! (Be embraced, Ye Millions!) is the hidden gem at the heart of this album. Johann Strauss II dedicated it to his friend Brahms, and it’s an example of the complex balance of sweetness and sophistication that can be achieved in these works. This album isn’t a heavy-hitter, but it’s a welcome accompaniment to an afternoon’s relaxation.