Apollo’s Cabinet: Musical Wanderlust

Charles Burney’s European Travels in Pursuit of Harmony
Apollo’s Cabinet, Alexander Armstrong narrator
Prima Classic PRIMA036CDEN

What a jolly time Dr Burney must have had! This is a proper romp around Europe – with performances by the children of Red Priest and an excitable percussionist. The musical items include some balletti by Schmelzer, movements from a Vivaldi concerto pushed to its limits among a smorgasbord of bleeding chunks (Goldberg Variations, a Tuma partita, some Loeillet of Ghent, an aria from a Telemann opera, some folk tunes among them. I fear few of the composers would recognise their music, but who cares? This sort of disc isn’t an academic recreation, it’s taking Burney’s diaries (extracts of which are read by Mr Pointless, Alexander Armstrong) and fleshing out his comments on music and entertainment with lively (sometimes bonkers) arrangements of music he might have heard on his travels. It’s the sort of disc that will sell VERY well after live gigs, and will thrill concert-goers when they play it and remember a fabulous evening’s entertainment. And – very appropriately for Mr A – it’s absolutely perfect for Classic FM listeners!

If I get a chance to see these guys live, I will leap at it – while I don’t think it’s the sort of CD I will often listen to at home, I can certainly imagine how gripping they’ll be in the flesh. Check out their website

Brian Clark

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