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This fun recording is a bit honky-tonk, not entirely inappropriate given the repertoire: music by Leroy Shield (1893-1962) was often used to accompany Laurel & Hardy shorts. There is something of the spirit of musicology here: recently rediscovered manuscripts have been used, while in other instances Simonetto himself has transcribed music. Simonetto was initially self-taught before studying jazz and film music with Eric James (Chaplin’s associate composer). His performances carry astonishing power at times; at others, there is pure tomfoolery afoot. Specialist repertoire, certainly, but give it a go!

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica

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