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Orchestre Colonne - Hundred Thirty Years Dedicated To Music


Release Date: 03/28/2006 
Label:  Cascavelle   Catalog #: 3066   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Edouard LaloMaurice RavelEmmanuel ChabrierClaude Debussy,   ... 
Performer:  M.H. LopesGustave DherinMarcel DarrieuxLouis Cahuzac,   ... 
Conductor:  Gabriel PiernéPierre DervauxÉdouard ColonnePaul Paray,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Colonne Concerts Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Mixed 
Length: 2 Hours 24 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



ORCHESTRE COLONNE—130 YEARS DEDICATED TO MUSIC Gabriel Pierné, cond; 1 Edouard Colonne, cond; 2 Paul Paray, cond; 3 Jean Fournet, cond; 4 Pierre Dervaux, cond; 5 Jeanne-Marie Darré (pn); 6 Colonne O CASCAVELLE VEL Read more 3066 (2 CDs: 144:15)


RAVEL Rapsodie espagnole. 5 CHABRIER España. 1 Roi malgré lui: Fête polonaise. 1 LALO Le roi d’Ys: Overture. 1 Scherzo in d. 1 DEBUSSY Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune. 1 PIERNÉ Giration. 1 BERLIOZ La damnation de Faust: Marche hongroise. 2 WEBER L’invitation à la valse. 2 CHOPIN Marche funèbre. 2 MOZART Marche turque. 2 DUKAS La péri. 3 SAINT-SAËNS Piano Concerto No. 2 in g, op. 22. 3,6 MESSAGER Les deux pigeons: Suite. 4 FAURÉ Pénélope: Overture 4


Eduard Colonne (1838–1910) wasn’t the only musician appalled during his youth at the standards of French orchestral performance and the lack of concerts devoted to modern French music, but he was one of the few determined to do something about it. His Artistic Association of Colonne Concerts, formed in 1873, premiered over the years a host of fine works by the likes of d’Indy, Saint-Saëns, Debussy, Ravel, Widor, Massenet, Fauré, Dukas, and Chabrier, as well as rediscoveries such as Berlioz’s La damnation de Faust . (Colonne claimed to have known the composer and witnessed his interpretations.) His great rival as a conductor, Jules Pasdeloup, was said to be more meticulous in preparation, but it was Colonne people claimed brought more energy and temperament to the podium; and it was Colonne’s orchestra that has lasted through to the present day. This album brings together some of the recordings made by several of its finest conductors, though not surprisingly, the results are uneven both for sound and substance.


I have no hesitancy in stating that the earliest is the worst in both respects. Longtime readers of Fanfare will know that I am a card-carrying member of the Scratchy Old Records Club, so my views are not automatically biased against poor phonographic sound. But although the records Colonne made with his ensemble beginning in 1909 constitute the earliest such documented series, the contemporary acoustical process was extremely primitive, with especial difficulty in capturing orchestral textures. These recordings are not helped by numerous examples of the conductor’s enthusiastic but sloppy preparation. The five abbreviated arrangements have no value save a historical one.


Matters fared better when Gabriel Pierné took the helm after Colonne’s death. His recordings chosen for this release all date from 1929 to 1934, well into the era of the microphone with its superior frequency response. The Colonne Orchestra of the period was typical of French orchestras (always excepting the precision-drilled Walter Stramm Orchestra) if this sampling is anything to judge by, long on individual musicianship, short on any sense of ensemble. Common problems included ragged entries, suspect intonation, and a poor sense of balance within instrumental sections or between them; no blend as such to the orchestra at all, but a sound whose weight and texture fluctuates from moment to moment. As against this, there are some ravishing solos (Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune ) and an infectious enthusiasm (Chabrier’s España ) that carries all before it.


The rest of the recordings concentrate upon the Colonne Orchestra after it had rebuilt its ranks, decimated by World War II. The large changeover in personnel (evident in all French orchestras headquartered in Paris) resulted in more youthful ensembles whose sound came noticeably closer to international norms. Paul Paray took over from the Vichy-appointed Gaston Poulet, and his two entries in this set are among its glories. The Saint-Saëns concerto with Jeanne-Marie Darré (1948) has repeatedly appeared on LP and CD. For good reason: it is a classic version of the piece, conductor, orchestra, and soloist working as one in a reading that is effortlessly fleet and brilliant. But the La péri of 1948 is better still, with the close microphone placement revealing what a fine ensemble Paray had built in just a few years. It is also among the best of recorded versions, voluptuous and richly textured, yet never losing momentum.


Frankly, I’ve never been very fond of Fournet’s conducting, and I hear nothing in the two works presented here to change my opinion. It was the same period that provided the Paray recordings, but the Colonne musicians sound anemic, less disciplined, and at times, uninterested. Far better is the single contribution of Pierre Dervaux. His Rapsodie espagnole is shrewdly paced and tightly focused, with a seemingly infinite gradation of textures from the Colonne musicians.


The sound quality is understandably variable. Many of the acoustics and early electrics suffer from considerable wear. I suspect the original 78s themselves were not made available to the producers, but tapes made some years ago, because there are numerous instances of “bubbles” where very short splices were made out-of-phase. Equalization is good, and the side joins are handled competently. The more recent recordings sound quite good, at least, by 1960s analog standards.


Philippe Morin has written liner notes filled with detail, but lacking in background; so we know what a wealth of French orchestras were cutting albums in the early 1930s and for which record companies, but nothing about the Colonne ensemble’s structure, more famous soloists, or their relationships with their various directors and financial backers. Still, this is a fascinating release, with fine material by Pierné, Paray, and Dervaux that is treasurable. Recommended.


FANFARE: Barry Brenesal
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Works on This Recording

1.
Le Roi d'Ys: Overture by Edouard Lalo
Performer:  M.H. Lopes (Cello)
Conductor:  Gabriel Pierné
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Colonne Concerts Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1875-1888; France 
Date of Recording: 06/10/1930 
Length: 12 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
2.
Rapsodie espagnole by Maurice Ravel
Conductor:  Pierre Dervaux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Colonne Concerts Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1907-1908; France 
Date of Recording: 1960 
Length: 15 Minutes 28 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
3.
Le roi malgré lui: Fête polonaise by Emmanuel Chabrier
Conductor:  Gabriel Pierné
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Colonne Concerts Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887; France 
Date of Recording: 02/10/1931 
Length: 7 Minutes 43 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
4.
Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Gabriel Pierné
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Colonne Concerts Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1892-1894; France 
Date of Recording: 02/10/1930 
Venue:  Salle du Conservatoire, Paris 
Length: 8 Minutes 27 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording.
Composition written: France (1892 - 1894). 
5.
España by Emmanuel Chabrier
Conductor:  Gabriel Pierné
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Colonne Concerts Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883; France 
Date of Recording: 12/09/1929 
Venue:  Salle du Conservatoire, Paris 
Length: 6 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
6.
Giration by Gabriel Pierné
Performer:  Gustave Dherin (Bassoon), Marcel Darrieux (Violin), Louis Cahuzac (Clarinet),
M.H. Lopes (Cello), Jean Doyen (Piano)
Conductor:  Gabriel Pierné
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Colonne Concerts Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1933; France 
Date of Recording: 01/12/1934 
Length: 8 Minutes 43 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
7.
La damnation de Faust, Op. 24: Rákóczy March by Hector Berlioz
Conductor:  Édouard Colonne
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Colonne Concerts Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845-1846; France 
Date of Recording: 1908 
Length: 2 Minutes 33 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
8.
Sonata for Piano no 2 in B flat minor, B 128/Op. 35 "Funeral March": 3rd movement, Marche funébre by Frédéric Chopin
Conductor:  Édouard Colonne
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Colonne Concerts Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837-1839; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 1909 
Length: 3 Minutes 15 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
9.
Sonata for Piano no 11 in A major, K 331 (300i): 3rd movement, Rondo alla turca by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Édouard Colonne
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Colonne Concerts Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1781-1783; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1909 
Length: 3 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
10.
La péri by Paul Dukas
Conductor:  Paul Paray
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Colonne Concerts Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1911-1912; France 
Date of Recording: 06/14/1949 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 19 Minutes 9 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
11.
Concerto for Piano no 2 in G minor, Op. 22 by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Jeanne-Marie Darré (Piano)
Conductor:  Paul Paray
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Colonne Concerts Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; France 
Date of Recording: 02/24/1948 
Venue:  Champs-Elysées Theater, Paris, France 
Length: 22 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
12.
Les deux pigeons: Suite by André Messager
Conductor:  Jean Fournet
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Colonne Concerts Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886; France 
Date of Recording: 04/05/1947 
Venue:  Champs-Elysées Theater, Paris, France 
Length: 20 Minutes 26 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
13.
Pénélope: Prelude by Gabriel Fauré
Conductor:  Jean Fournet
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Colonne Concerts Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907-1912; France 
Date of Recording: 05/28/1948 
Venue:  Studio Albert, Paris, France 
Length: 6 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
14.
Scherzo for Orchestra in D minor by Edouard Lalo
Conductor:  Jean Fournet
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Colonne Concerts Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1884; France 
Date of Recording: 05/28/1948 
Venue:  Studio Albert, Paris, France 
Length: 4 Minutes 14 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
15.
Invitation to the Dance, in D flat major J 260/Op. 65 by Carl Maria von Weber
Conductor:  Édouard Colonne
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Colonne Concerts Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1819; Dresden, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1908 
Length: 2 Minutes 56 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Hector Berlioz.
This selection is a mono recording. 

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