Lalo: Namouna

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Yondani Butt

Ten years ago on classical radio in America, Edouard Lalo’s ballet score Namouna was heard with some regularity, but not now. Though Lalo was a 19th-century composer, and his lightweight Symphonie Espagnole is overplayed on radio today, Namouna—and Lalo’s Symphony in G—are sidelined (except on our local KXPR). Why? Most classical stations want music you can talk over, and this is rhythmic, exciting, imaginative music. Can’t have that. But you can with this CD. You also get the charming “Valse de la cigarette,” conducted by Yondani Butt (pronounced “boot”). Buy this CD and crank it up the next time the overnight radio service from Minnesota plays yet another selection of sweet, repetitive, placid, second-rate music. Namouna shakes the dust off and awakens the spirit.