Every so often a major label puts out a collection like this one of short, famous pieces of classical music, perhaps to interest beginners in the field who don't already have six or eight versions of each work. Nevertheless, I found a few new things among the old favorites from Jansons and his Oslo Philharmonic that might make this 1998 release a worthwhile investment even to older collectors.
The theme of the album is world travel, encores from different composers of different nationalities. The program starts with Bernstein's Overture from Candide, then goes on to Tchaikovsky's Pas de deux No. 14 from the Nutcracker, Sibelius's "Valse triste," Bizet's "Farandole," Bach's "Air" from Orchestral Suite No. 3, etc.
The recordings are all digital, dating from 1993-97, and the sound is agreeable throughout. It is quite natural in tonal balance and resonant ambiance, with excellent dynamics and a reasonable sense of depth. There is some slight veiling, however, and bass is only moderately deep. In other words, we are more than a few steps removed from front row seats, but the effect is fairly realistic and pleasing in any case.
With twenty items in all and a total time of over seventy-nine minutes, there ought to be something here for everyone, even if the listener may find most of the material familiar.
To listen to a brief excerpt from this album, click below: