MICHAEL HURD (1928-2006): The Widow of Ephesus (Pippa Goss [soprano], Louise Winter [mezzo], Michael Bundy [baritone]), Mr. Owen's Great Endeavor (Bundy [narrator], City of Canterbury Chamber Choir).
Catalogue Number: 09N060
Label: Dutton Epoch
Reference: CDLX 7269
Description: With a libretto (co-authored by the composer) based on a tale from Petronius' Satyricon (which Fellini also used in his film), Hurd's 1971 chamber opera of just under 45 minutes belongs to the genre of such better-known pieces as Walton's The Bear. Scored with wit and economy (you can often pick up most of the words even without a libretto), the tale and the music will likely produce smiles and the entertainment value overall is quite high. The 22-minute coupling, from 1990, is a light and breezy "ballad cantata" intended for performance by grammar school students, commissioned by the Heritage Education Trust, which outlines the history of the agrarian and industrial revolutions in 18th century Britain and then focuses on the enlightened educational and emplyment philosophy of a mill-owner in Scotland (there are two New Lanark Dances and a section on "The Uses of the Cow"). No libretto or texts (why??). Orchestra Nova; George Vass.