In the Mystic Land of Egypt                                                              Back to list of works index

           

This piece dates from 1931, and was announced as “the companion seller to In a Persian Market”.  Indeed, its structure and melodies share a great deal with the former hit.  However, it was produced at a time when Ketèlbey’s popularity was already beginning to wane, and only two contemporary recordings seem to have been made.  Since the composer’s death it has become recognised as one of his best pseudo-oriental pieces, and has had several excellent recordings.

 

Part of the deterrent from performance may have been the large orchestra specified, including saxophones, banjos, mandolins, and a marimba or vibraphone, as well tenor soloist and male quartet.  These colourful resources are not essential, and in fact most recordings manage with perhaps just one extra sonority.

 

Composer’s synopsis

A detachment of native soldiers approach and pass through a village, then a song from a boat on the Nile is heard softly across the water.  A short passage depicting an Arab playing his pipe leads to a repetition of the song-melody by the full orchestra.  The soldiers now return and some of them sing the song in harmony.  A few bars of the melody bring the piece to a quiet conclusion.

 

In the Mystic Land of Egypt – orchestra   

 

Artists

Label

Matrix

Format

Date

Review

Locations

 

Franz Hoffmann and his O

Imperial Z 114

?

10” 78

Mar 32 p.436

 

baritone, Charles Prentice and his O, male chorus 

Columbia DB 767               

CA 12394, 12395-2

10” 78, 2 sides

[Apr 32] rec.Feb 32

Apr 32 p.480

BL

 

     Re-issue (Columbia Orchestra)

- Columbia 2779-D

CA 12394, 12395

10” 78, 2 sides

[1933]

 

WC

 

     Re-issue

- Naxos 8.110848

CD

2002

BL NX,, PD, TM

 

Regent Classic O

Bosworth BC 1140               

CP 931

10” 78

[1940?]                                      

(TM CD)

 

New SO of London, Robinson

Decca LK 4080

10” LP

[June 54]

July 54 p.73, Mar 55 p.464-465

BL

 

     Re-issue

- Decca LW 5115

LP

[July 54]

July 54 p.73

PD

 

     Re-issue

- Ace of Clubs ACL 1044

LP

[1961]

BL, (TM CD)

 

     Re-issue

- Eclipse ECS (+ECM) 2016

LP

1969

Feb 70 p.1332

BL, PD, TM

 

     Re-issue

- Decca DDX 190039

(Dutch)

LP

1969

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Decca NUX 390044

(Dutch)

LP

1969

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Guild Light Music GLCD 5141

CD

2007

WC

 

Vienna State Opera O, Aliberti  

Westminster WP 6082

 

LP

rec.June 57

 

(TM CD)

 

     Re-issue

- Westminster WST 15005

 

LP

 

 

BL, PD

 

     Re-issue

- Sonotape SWB 7045

 

2-track tape

1958

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- World Record Club TP 359

 

LP

1963

 

WC

 

     Re-issue  Orquesta sinfónica de Baviera, Jenssen

- Dial Discos/Nevada ND 501312

(Spanish)

LP

1978

 

WC, TM

 

     Re-issue  Orquesta sinfónica de Baviera, Jenssen

- Dial Discos NC 501312

(Spanish)

CAS

[1978]

 

WC

 

     Re-issue

- Westminster WGS  8139

(American)

LP

1981

 

TM

 

     Re-issue  Orquesta sinfónica de Baviera, Jenssen

- Dial Discos 102048

(Spanish)

CAS

[1986]

 

WC

 

     Re-issue  Orquesta sinfónica de Baviera, Jenssen

- Dial 960139                        

(Spanish)

CD

1991

 

WC

 

     Re-issue

- Voix de son maître 2CO 59392502

(French)

LP

 

 

WC

 

     Re-issue

- Voix de son maître C 24592502

(French)

CAS

 

 

WC

 

New SO of London, Sharples               

Decca SKL 4077

LP

[1959]

Feb 60 p.434

BL, PD

 

     Re-issue

- Decca LXT 4329

(Spanish)

LP

[1960]

 

WC

 

     Re-issue

- Decca SKC 4077

(Spanish)

CAS

[1969]

 

WC

 

     Re-issue

- Decca SPA 187

 

 

1971

July 72 p.253

BL, PD

 

     Re-issue

- Decca 841203

(Spanish)

CAS

1982

 

WC

 

     Re-issue

- Decca 452987-2

CD

1997

BL, PD, TM

 

     Re-issue

- Vocalion CDLF 8143

CD

[2011]

LMS Aut 11 p42

PD

 

tenor, Stuttgart Philharmonic O, male chorus, Mareczek

Fontana SFL 14141               

LP

1967

Jan 70 p.1188

BL, TM, (TM CD)

 

     Re-issue

- Philips G 05585

(French)

10” LP

[1967]

 

WC

 

     Re-issue

- Philips 836397 VZ

(French)

10” LP

[1967]

 

WC

 

     Re-issue

- Philips 837494 G7

 

LP

 

(French cat.1967)

 

 

     Re-issue

- Philips 839800 G7/GSY

(Swedish)

LP

 

 

WC

 

     Re-issue

- Philips 730236

(Spanish)

CAS

[1971]

 

WC

 

     Re-issue

- Philips 7431049

(Spanish)

CAS

[1977]

 

WC

 

     Re-issue

- Philips 7318016

(French)

CAS

 

 

WC

 

     Re-issue

- Philips 9117 CAA

(French)

CAS

 

 

WC

 

tenor, Royal Philharmonic Chorus & O, Rogers

Decca PFS 4170

LP

1969

Nov 69 p.833

BL, TM

 

     Re-issue

- Decca DGS 16

(American)

LP

1980

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Decca 6594064

(Spanish)

LP

1981

 

WC

 

     Re-issue

- Decca 444786-2LPF

CD

1996

Aug 96 p.60

BL

 

Vernon Midgley (t), Ambrosian Singers, Philharmonia O, Lanchbery               

EMI ASD 3542

LP

1978

July 78 p.261

BL, TM

 

     Re-issue

- Angel S 37483

(American)

LP

1978

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Hörzu 1C 05702986Q

(German)

LP

?

 

WC

 

     Re-issue

- Angel SS 45012

(American)

EP

1979

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Voz de su Amo 10C 265002986Q

(Spanish)

CAS

[1980]

 

WC

 

     Re-issue

- Voix de son maître 2C 2692986

(French)

CAS

 

 

WC

 

     Re-issue

- Angel CDC 7478062

 

CD

[1987]

 

WC

 

     Re-issue

- CD-CFP 4637

CD

1993      

Mar 94 p.114

BL, TM

     Re-issue

- TC-CFP 4637

 

CAS

1993      

Mar 94 p.114

 

 

     Re-issue

- EMI Classics 5730002

(German)

CD

[1998]

 

WC

 

     Re-issue

- HMV 5724852

1998

     Re-issue

- EMI Classics 0724 3573 00056

 

CD

[1999]

 

NX

 

     Re-issue

- EMI Classics 0742 3573 00155

 

CD

[1999]

 

NX

 

     Re-issue

- EMI Classics 0094 6352 39959

 

CD

[2006]

 

NX

 

     Re-issue

- EMI 50112920

(Japanese remastering)

CD

2007

PD, TM

Lawrence Dale (t), Ambrosian Chorus, London Promenade O, Faris

Philips 6514152

LP

1982

Apr 82 p.1423

BL, TM

     Re-issue

- Philips 7337152

 

CAS

1982

Apr 82 p.1423

WC

 

     Re-issue

- Philips 400011-2

CD

1982

Apr 83 p.1152

BL, PD, TM

     Re-issue

- Decca/Universal 473720-2             

CD

2003

June 03 p.50

BL, WC

tenor, orchestra

private recording

CAS

Oct 96

TM

According to Peter Dempsey the baritone on DB 767 is Dennis Noble. 

 

Prentice is the only conductor to follow the prescribed metronome of crotchet=108.  Everyone else follows the instruction of “quasi marcia”, at a faster speed between 120 and 132.

 

Many of the recordings are cut, quite unnecessarily so in the case of the more recent versions – Prentice 32 bars, Voss 119, Robinson 48, Mareczek 16, Rogers 32 and Lanchbery 40.

 

Of the various optional effects, Prentice has the most, using voices, saxophones, vibraphone and mandolins, as well as several passages of indistinct shouting by the male chorus; when the chorus is singing most of the orchestral accompaniment is omitted.  Mareczek’s singers omit all words.  Robinson, Lanchbery and Faris all have saxophones.  Banjos are used by Robinson and Lanchbery, while Robinson also has mandolins.  Aliberti and Rogers both have a vibraphone, slightly under pitch in Alberti.   Regent Orchestra, Sharples and Mareczek all add a harp not in the score.    Several conductors include a part for “violin obbligato” which was intended for orchestras with only a handful of wind instruments.

 

 

In the Mystic Land of Egypt – organ

 

Artists

Instrument

Label

Matrix

Format

Date

Review

Locations

Hans Uwe Hielscher (arr. Hielscher)

Dunedin Town Hall

IFO ORG 72112

 

CD

2004

 

WC, TM

-

De Arabier barrel organ

private recording

 

web

2008

 

 

-

Hooghuys fair organ

private recording

 

web

2010

 

 

The Arabier organ can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URfXkg3X9qs

The Hooghuys organ can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUCY-52Qis0 

 

The two mechanical organs appear to be using similar organ rolls, despite sounding an augmented fourth apart in pitch.  They play an abridged version with an unexpected key change from the soldier’s march to the love song, in the case of the De Arabier C minor to D major.  There are typical additions such as fast ornamental phrases and extra percussion effects.  The Hooghuys sound is unbalanced, with some of the melody obscured by the supporting harmony.

 

Hielscher plays the piece complete and straight, apart from omitting a short bridge passage of 7 bars.  His rubato in the song theme persistently loses a quaver on long notes, but his final “quiet conclusion” is exquisitely executed.

 

None of these organ versions include the semiquaver chromatic countermelody in the march, thereby losing not only an interesting feature but also a motif linked to the opening, the march tutti section and the Arab pipe.

 

 webpage updated 11th Jan 2017