Newly compiled from several Decca recordings made between 1964 and 1988, this portrait of Auber was created at Richard Bonynge’s specific request and supervised by him. Most substantial of these recordings is the ballet version which Auber made from his opera Marco Spada: 65 minutes of scintillating dance music, in the adaptation made by Richard Bonynge for the purpose of the recording. The set serves also to show Bonynge’s career-long commitment to the neglected figure of Auber. He has done more than any other musician in the oderne ra to rehabilitate a figure of prodigious accomplishment and huge popularity in his own era, who both excited the admiration of Wagner and Berlioz as well as supplying a string of hits for the Opéra-Comique in Paris. The conductor contributes a new and extensive essay of his own to this reissue, outlining Auber’s place in nineteenth-century culture and recalling how he came to make these recordings. Early in his partnership with Decca he had already made a disc of ‘French Opera’ overtures including Marco Spada and Lestocq (‘a record for Francophiles to cherish’, according to Gramophone’s original review in March 1970); these are included here, in new remasterings, along with the even less familiar overture to La Neige. Bonynge was introduced to the A minor Cello Concerto by the principal cellist of the Metropolitan Opera, Jascha Silberstein, but much of this music Bonynge discovered for himself, as well as some of the artists who would help him bring it to life such as the mezzo-soprano Huguette Tourangeau. She sings an aria from Le cheval bronze, Bonynge’s wife Dame Joan Sutherland brings off a pair of showpieces from Manon Lescaut and Fra Diavolo, and the set concludes with Australian-made recordings featuring another three fine antipodean singers: Angela Denning, Heather Begg and Anson Austin. A complementary issue on Eloquence (4827742) presents the conductor’s sole complete recording of an Auber opera, Le Domino Noir, together with his ballet music for Gustav III. ‘One can have only the highest praise for the balletically idiomatic fashion in which Bonynge presents [the music] … He elicits smart, crisp playing from the orchestra, and the reproduction is notable for its bright realism.’ (Pas classique) High Fidelity, March 1965. ‘Silberstein makes a dashing thing of [the concerto] … He is obviously a man of first-class instincts, and he seems to know those lush, genial melodies from the operas.’ (Cello Concerto) Gramophone, September 1972.