Scandinavian favourites Music by Alfven, Svendsen, Grieg, Nielsen and Sibelius Royal Opera House Orchestra / Hollingsworth; LPO / Cameron CDEA 5500; recorded 1954 - 1955

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"I am content if the conductor with feeling and the utmost conscientiousness renders all that is contained in the score, and does not make mistakes in tempo." So wrote the Swedish composer Hugo Alfven, whose rumbustious First Swedish Rhapsody receives nothing less - in fact, a good deal more - from the Royal Opera House Orchestra under its one-time ballet specialist John Hollingsworth. "Midsummer Vigil" (to quote Alfven's alternative title) harbours one of those perky little tunes that everyone knows but few can name, while Svendsen's colour-splashed Carnival in Paris reflects the Wagnerian ethos of its Bayreuth birthplace.

Grieg sits at the centre of this generous budget-price programme, his suite Sigurd Jorsalfar (with its regal "Homage March") and the two cosily reflective Elegiac Melodies. Nielsen's cheeky "Dance of the Cockerels" (Masquerade) raises the curtain on a Sibelius sequence where Proms maestro Basil Cameron conducts the London Philharmonic - music from Karelia ("Intermezzo" and "Alla Marcia"), King Christian II ("Musette") and Kuolema (the celebrated "Valse Triste") plus the thoughtful Romance in C major.

All performances wear a healthy countenance and Mike Dutton has worked wonders with what were always fairly impressive mono recordings. Contemporaneous collections of Spanish and French Favourites (under different conductors) - also on Dutton - are similarly appealing. Robert Cowan

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