Based on Somerset Maugham's middling novel Theater, Annette Bening stars as the title character, an aging star of the London stage whose life and the melodramas she performs have come to mirror each other. Composer Mychael Danna sets those conflicts to a score that emphasizes theatrical surfaces and rigid role-playing, utilizing a finely honed classical pastiche approach with parallels to his previous period-evoking work on Vanity Fair. His cues here are rooted in the light romantic chamber music of the 19th century, though they frequently bristle with a more contemporary energy and aplomb. Offering counterpoint to Danna's dignified, oft-precious classical confections and mining the story's more sensual human dimensions are pop chestnuts from the era (The Andrews Sisters' saucy "Bei Mir Bist Du Schon" and Mills Brothers' jaunty "Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries"), as well as fine contemporary takes of "They Didn't Believe Me" and Noel Coward's "Mad About the Boy" by Denzel Sinclair and Alison Jicar's elegant read of "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes." –Jerry McCulley.
Andreas Romberg explored new musical territory when he got the idea to include Turkish colour in his fourth symphony. It was not until the romantic era that Oriental or Arabian colour very deliberately was incorporated into symphonic music, whether in Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade (1888) or in Engelbert Humperdinck's Maurische Rhapsodie (1898). Right in the first movement of his symphony Romberg used the title 'A la turca' to get his audience to anticipate Turkish colour. The gradually intensified initial part goes over into a passage with the expected percussion accents and swiftly whirling violin figures. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Violin Concerto in A major, the last of his five violin concertos, is also regarded as a concert piece with Turkish colour. In the rondo finale there is a famous interlude in A minor in which the violoncellists and double bassists beat the rhythm on the strings with their bow sticks. This too produces the popular 'Alla turca' flair.
Joined by the Zürich Tonhalle Orchestra and David Zinman, Fischer pairs the ever-popular Bruch concerto with Dvorák's undeservedly neglected but perennially fresh masterpiece - a rather more logical twinning than the ubiquitous Mendelssohn.