The Marriner/Philips Yeomen (1993)
Academy and Chorus of
Philips 442 436-2
This Yeomen follows in the spirit of the Sargent recording, casting grand opera singers in all the principal roles. This is, consequently, the most musically satisfying Yeomen on record. It is also the only Yeomen on record to include dialogue (albeit abridged). The dramatic values are surprisingly good, considering that these singers never performed their roles on stage. In a field full of great Yeomen recordings, this one certainly deserves consideration.
Although I find the dialogue performances surprisingly good, J. Donald Smith has a contrary view:
While musically this is one of the best recordings of Yeomen around, for me it is spoiled by the dialogue. I don't object to dialogue. It's just that: 1) there is really no characterization — the performers never really seem to 'feel' their parts; and 2) the performers speak with such precise, 'plummy,' upper-class, BBC English accents that the characters are not believable. Apparently, Philips recognized this criticism by issuing a single disc without the dialog, containing as much of the music as would fit. (I have not gotten it, so I don't know what is missing.)
To my knowledge, this recording has appeared only on CD. The highlights disc is only 52:08 long, well under the capacity of a single disc: evidently, the publishers didn't want to get caught making the excerpts too appealing, or sales of the full two-CD set might suffer! In any event, now that the full recording is available in a two-fer package at budget price, the highlights disc has been withdrawn.
Comparative Review by James McCarthy
|1998||Philips||CD||462 508-2||"Two-fer" budget package|