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

Country

Date

Gramophone Review

Locations

 

Franz Hoffmann and his Orchestra

Imperial Z 114

?

10” 78

UK

Mar 32 p.436

 

baritone, Charles Prentice and his Orchestra, male chorus 

Columbia DB 767               

CA 12394, 12395-2

10” 78, 2 sides

UK

[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

UK

2002

BL NX,, PD, TM

 

Regent Classic Orchestra

Bosworth BC 1140      

CP 931

10” 78

UK

[1940?]                                      

(TM CD)

 

New SO of London, Robinson

Decca LK 4080

10” LP

UK

[June 54]

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

BL

 

     Re-issue

- Decca LW 5115

LP

UK

[July 54]

July 54 p.73

PD

 

     Re-issue

- London 9119

 

10” LP

US

[1954]

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Decca 6835 654

 

LP

Netherlands

1960

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Ace of Clubs ACL 1044

LP

UK

[1961]

BL, (TM CD)

 

     Re-issue

- Eclipse ECS (+ECM) 2016

LP

UK

1969

Feb 70 p.1332

BL, PD, TM

 

     Re-issue

- Decca DDX 190039

 

LP

Netherlands

1969

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Decca NUX 390044

 

LP

Netherlands

1969

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Decca 220014

 

LP

France

1969

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- London ECL 105

 

LP

Brazil

1977

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- London LL 985

 

LP

US

?

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- London LLC 5047

 

LP

Brazil

?

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Guild Light Music GLCD 5141

 

CD

UK

2007

WC

 

Vienna State Opera Orchestra, Aliberti  

Westminster WP 6082

 

LP

US

[1958]rec.June 57

 

(TM CD)

 

     Re-issue

- Westminster WGWS 18071

 

LP

Australia

1958

 

 

 

     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

UK

1963

 

WC

 

     Re-issue

- Clave 18-1246 S

 

LP

Spain

1971

 

 

 

     Re-issue  Orquesta sinfónica de Baviera, Jenssen

- Dial Discos/Nevada ND 501312

 

LP

Spain

1978

 

WC, TM

 

     Re-issue  Orquesta sinfónica de Baviera, Jenssen

- Dial Discos NC 501312

 

CAS

Spain

[1978]

 

WC

 

     Re-issue

- Westminster WGS  8139

 

LP

US

1981

 

TM

 

     Re-issue  Orquesta sinfónica de Baviera, Jenssen

- Dial Discos 102048

 

CAS

Spain

[1986]

 

WC

 

     Re-issue  Orquesta sinfónica de Baviera, Jenssen

- Dial 960139                        

 

CD

Spain

1991

 

WC

 

     Re-issue

- Westminster IWA 930558

 

LP

Japan

 

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Voix de son maître 2CO 59392502

 

LP

France

 

 

WC

 

     Re-issue

- Voix de son maître C 24592502

 

CAS

France

 

 

WC

 

New Symphony Orchestra of London, Sharples

Decca SKL 4077

 

LP

UK

[1959]

Feb 60 p.434

BL, PD

 

     Re-issue

- London LL 3141

 

LP

US

[1959]

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- London PS 186,

 

LP

US

[1959]

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Axis 6326

 

LP

Australia

[1959]

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Decca LXT 4329

 

LP

Spain

[1960]

 

WC

 

     Re-issue

- Decca SKC 4077

 

LP/CAS

Spain

[1969]

 

WC

 

     Re-issue

- Decca SPA 187

 

LP

UK

1971

July 72 p.253

BL, PD

 

     Re-issue

- London SPA 4036,

 

LP

Canada

1971

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Decca SPL 3046,

 

LP

South Africa

1977

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Decca 65 94 156,

 

LP

Spain

1981

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- London CM. 9041

 

LP

Canada

 

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Decca LPD 253 Y

 

LP

Belgium

 

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Decca 841203

 

CAS

Spain

1982

 

WC

 

     Re-issue

- Decca 452987-2

CD

UK

1997

BL, PD, TM

 

     Re-issue

- Vocalion CDLF 8143

CD

UK

[2011]

LMS Aut 11 p42

PD

 

tenor, Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra, male chorus, Mareczek

Fontana SFL 14141   

LP

UK

1967

Jan 70 p.1188

BL, TM, (TM CD)

 

     Re-issue

- Philips G 05585

 

10” LP

France

[1967]

 

WC

 

     Re-issue

- Philips 836397 VZ

 

10” LP

France

[1967]

 

WC

 

     Re-issue

- Philips 837494 G7

 

LP

France

 

(in French cat.1967)

 

 

     Re-issue

- Philips 839800 G7/GSY

 

LP

Sweden

 

 

WC

 

     Re-issue

- Contour 6870 576

 

LP

UK

 

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Philips 432607 AE

 

10” LP

France

 

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Philips 6504042

 

LP

Spain

 

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Philips 6537 018

 

LP

France

 

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Philips 730236

 

CAS

Spain

[1971]

 

WC

 

     Re-issue

- Philips 7431049

 

CAS

Spain

[1977]

 

WC

 

     Re-issue

- Philips 7318016

 

CAS

France

 

 

WC

 

     Re-issue

- Philips 9117 CAA

 

CAS

France

 

 

WC

 

tenor, Royal Philharmonic Chorus & Orchestra, Rogers

Decca PFS 4170

 

LP

UK

1969

Nov 69 p.833

BL, TM

 

     Re-issue

- London SPC 21036

 

LP

US

1969

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Decca SLZ.8386,

 

LP

NZ

1969

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- London LLN-7164,

 

LP

Brazil

1969

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Orlador 54452

 

LP

Spain

1975

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Decca DGS 16

 

LP

US

1980

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Decca 6594064

 

LP

Spain

1981

 

WC

 

     Re-issue

- Decca 444786-2LPF

 

CD

UK

1996

Aug 96 p.60

BL

 

     Re-issue

- MG Direct Marketing D 115620

 

CD

US

1996

 

 

 

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

EMI ASD 3542

 

LP

 

1978

July 78 p.261

BL, TM

 

     Re-issue

- Angel S 37483

 

LP

US

1978

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Hörzu 1C 05702986Q

 

LP

Germany

1978

 

WC

 

     Re-issue

- His Master’s Voice TC-ASD 3542

 

CAS

UK

1978

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Angel S 37483

 

LP

US

1978

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- EMI 26 1370

 

LP

Germany

1978

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- World Record Club R-05771

 

LP

Australia

1979

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Angel SS 45012

 

EP

US

1979

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Voz de su Amo 10C 265002986Q

 

CAS

Spain

[1980]

 

WC

 

     Re-issue

- Voix de son maître 2C 2692986

 

CAS

France

 

 

WC

 

     Re-issue

- His Master’s Voice 1546401

 

LP

Sweden

 1983

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Richmond B 20083

 

LP

US

 

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Angel EAC-80451

 

LP

Japan

 

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Angel CDC 7478062

 

CD

US

[1987]

 

WC

 

     Re-issue

- EMI 7243 5730 025

 

CD

UK

1990

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- EMI CDM 253 8402

 

CD

Netherlands

1992

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- EMI 7234 5680 6122

 

CD

UK

1993

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- CD-CFP 4637

CD

UK

1993      

Mar 94 p.114

BL, TM

     Re-issue

- TC-CFP 4637

 

CAS

UK

1993      

Mar 94 p.114

 

 

     Re-issue

- EMI Classics 7243 5730 0124

 

CD

Netherlands

1998

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- EMI Classics 5730002

 

CD

Germany

[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

 

CD

Japan?

2007

PD, TM

     Re-issue

- Angel HCD-1353

 

CD

Japan

 

 

 

 

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

Philips 6514152

LP

UK

1982

Apr 82 p.1423

BL, TM

     Re-issue

- Philips 7337152

 

CAS

 

1982

Apr 82 p.1423

WC

 

     Re-issue

- Philips 400011-2

CD

UK

1982

Apr 83 p.1152

BL, PD, TM

     Re-issue

- Sony Music Media SMM 504 8862 S

 

CD

Belgium

2001

 

 

 

     Re-issue

- Decca/Universal 473720-

CD

UK

2003

June 03 p.50

BL, WC

tenor, orchestra

private recording

CAS

UK

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

Format

Country

Date

Review

Locations

Hans Uwe Hielscher (arr. Hielscher)

Dunedin Town Hall

IFO ORG 72112

CD

NZ

2004

 

WC, TM

-

De Arabier barrel organ

private recording

web

Netherlands

2008

 

 

-

Hooghuys fair organ

private recording

web

Belgium

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.

 

 

In the Mystic Land of Egypt – other arrangements

 

Artists

Instruments

Label

Format

Country

Date

Review

Locations

Royal Estudiantina La Napolitaine (arr. Ranieri)

Mandolin ensemble

private recording

web

Belgium

2007

 

 

 

This performance at the Brussels Musical Instrument Museum on 24th November 2007 can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9edFtHTXUhw&list=PLDdlSzGv6-khkghNzz8X259uHMY6IdPIr&index=4

 

 

webpage updated 27th Sept 2020