The LSO pays tribute to one of America's great dance institutions with this recording of music from two of the Joffrey's signature ballets: "Kettentanz," featuring waltzes, polkas and galops by Johann Strauss, and "Birthday Variations," a 1986 work commissioned to celebrate the Joffrey's 30th anniversary that draws upon two Verdi operas, I Lombardi and I Vespri Siciliani. Strauss 'music demands the lightest touch, which these musicians provide: the orchestra pulls off the Austrian's articulations with an insouciant verve, and the delicate Schnofler Tanz trio is full of sweet lyricism. By contrast, the Verdi selections are hale and hearty; the LSO plays robustly while always retaining control of the ballet's larger picture.
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