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Tom Jones


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Amazon.com: 5 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Rare operetta, well captured Oct. 5 2009
By James F. Harrington - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Edward German's Tom Jones is a rare early 20th century operetta, which until now had not been recorded and released in its entirety. This Naxos recording (including three musical numbers omitted from the 1907 premiere) is well done--the orchestra, principals, and chorus all turn in well-executed performances that are believable and entertaining. The score is light, lilting, and certainly memorable. Richard Morrison was an excellent choice as the hero, and Marianne Hellgren Staykov is endearing as Sophia, Jones' beguiling romantic interest. All in all, this is a great first recording of a highly entertaining operetta.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Edward German opera gets new life Oct. 22 2009
By Scott Farrell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Edward German is one of those unfortunate composers who, though famous in his time, is almost unknown in the present. His operas "Merrie England" and "Tom Jones" have kept him on the periphery of the English musical world, and this latest recording of his best opera will undoubtedly do much to increase awareness about the work of Edward German.

Let me say at once that the recording quality is extremely high. Though "Tom Jones" has been recorded a number of times, it has never had its first edition on compact disc, but the LPs of earlier recordings have been available on disc for years. Now for the first time we can hear the opera exactly as German wrote it. The playing of the orchestra is first rate - all the instruments can be heard and their notes are correctly played. It also has the benefit of the harp which, to my knowledge, has not previously been included in the recordings. The chorus, though rather quiet at times, is a good one. They sing clearly and no individual voices can be heard - a common flaw with some other recordings. The principals are pretty good too. Despite illness during the sessions, Marianne Staykov sings the role of Sophia prettily. Heather Shipp gives the perfect interpretation of Honour. Donald Maxwell as Western and Simon Butteriss as Gregory give useful aid. Richard Morrison, in the title role, lends plenty of vigour and masculinity to the role, and he sings all of his music correctly and tellingly.

But the recording is not flawless. There are some minor mistakes scattered in the recording, such as the mispronounciations of "Sophia" (rendered as "So-FEE-a" instead of the traditional "so-FIE-a"), "aye" ("eye" when some listeners will say it should be "eh"), and very occasional words out of order. Staykov also shows a couple of bad spots, most notably the added high note at the end of the waltz song - a note which she sings out of tune. In contrast, her singing of "Love Maketh the Heart a Garden Fair" is, hands down, the loveliest performance of the song on record.

The addition of three previously unrecorded songs is also a nice touch. For my part, I have difficulty associating them with "Tom Jones", but I don't like them any less because of that. The trio, "Come away with me, my deary" is bright and bouncy and instantly memorable. I guarantee you'll be singing the refrain all day after one hearing of the song.

I strongly recommend this recording to all enthusiasts of Edward German, and lovers of Victorian/Edwardian operetta. Edward German's operas have suffered too great a neglect since his death in 1936, and to get any more of them, this album *must* be a success. It is fairly priced and prettily packaged (though I don't care for the album cover), and anyone interested in 20th century opera should own a copy of the album.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A Delightfully Rare Oddity Dec 25 2009
By worovnen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Edward German, the putatitve heir to the Gilbert and Sullivan crown, worked in Englad around the time Victor Herbert was taking American musical theater by storm. German is more complex, yet every bit as tuneful and this delicious work is among his best. The recording is clean and the performances strong. A fine look into a forgotten era.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The "original" Tom Jones Jan. 25 2010
By Jim D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Here's a first complete recording of a work (a hit in 1907, now long neglected) that's a link between the Savoy operas and the Broadway operettas of Kern and Romberg. Don't expect Richardson's "Tom Jones": much of the complicated plot of the novel is discarded, and what's left is about as racy as Georgette Heyer. The music, however, is wonderful period stuff, and is performed with sparkle and spirit, including three numbers cut from the score at various times. Baritone Richard Morrison sounds a trifle mature for Tom--a teenager as the novel begins--but sings well, as do all the cast, down to the smallest roles (though Marianne Hellgren Staykov might have asked for a retake of Sophia's third act waltz song). The booklet includes photos from the original production and a detailed synopsis; no libretto, but lyrics are at the Naxos website. Highly recommended for G&S buffs.
Edward German: Tom Jones Jan. 19 2013
By John Welch - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
"Merrie England" has rightly held its position as Edward German's most popular operetta - with "Tom Jones" running fairly close behind. It illustrates and explains once again how the composer's gift for melody secured for him an unofficial status as Sullivan's successor, no mean achievement. Considering its musical and dramatic attractions, its relegation to a back-burner has been very disappointing to lovers of operetta, and it is now so good to have it on CD. The superb cast is "oh-so-British" - as it should be! - with Simon Butteriss and Richard Suart as two outstanding baritones who have come to personify the comic roles in Gilbert and Sullivan and other productions. By the way, we can easily forgive Marianne Hellgren Staykov for having been born in Sweden! Her experience in the UK and other English-speaking countries allows her to fit perfectly into the lead soprano role of Sophia. The part played by a Chorus is so important in operetta, and we certainly have a good supporting one here. David Russell Hulme knows exactly how to extract the best playing from the right kind of orchestra for this sadly neglected operetta. All in all, a delight for the ears of operetta lovers! What a pity that we don't also have DVDs of "Merrie England" and "Tom Jones". :(


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