Sunday, July 7, 2013
Evoking the Oriental Construct, Orchestrally: The Paris Theatre Orchestra- A High Fidelity Adventure in Exotic Lands (1957)
A classic example of orchestral exotica, A High Fidelity Adventure in Exotic Lands first came to my ears through the late, great, lamentably expired Sleepy Lagoon, a wonderful resource for all things exotica-based.
The Paris Theatre Orchestra here presents for your listening pleasure an enjoyable set of exotic tone-poems steeped in the vague notion of the East. Animated entirely by Western romanticism, there is virtually no trace of actual "exotic"/ethnic musical culture manifest in the music, save the occasional (very Western) use of "oriental" compositional signifiers. The closest you get to any kind of alien presence on this record would be, perhaps, the bird sounds which open the last track. The back cover notes are perfectly damning:
"The far east, Arab lands, India and Persia have always held great fascination to the western mind. Their cultures are old and at times mysterious.
It would have presented the problem of uninteresting listening to have recorded the definite ethnic music of these places, therefor, this program in general is what we consider the music that these places suggest."
A lot of the selections you'd expect from an album of this ilk are present: "Theme from Prince Igor," "Arab Dance," "In A Persian Market," and of course, "Scheherazade." It's a bit tame for Exotica, and hardly essential, but for some reason I just love having it around. "Drifting Sampans" is great, and the whole thing has a real classic Hollywood vibe, sort of the perfect score for a huge-budget Orientalist costume epic.
A High Fidelity Adventure in Exotic Lands (320)
(This rip is a bit flat-sounding if you ask me, help me upgrade it if you can)