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Early French Tenors - Émile Scaramberg, Pierre Cornubert, Julien Lepestre

Various
Release Date: 07/12/2008 
Label:  Marston   Catalog #: 52059  
Composer:  VariousJules MassenetCharles GounodGeorges Bizet,   ... 
Performer:  Emile ScarambergGeorgette Brejean-SilverPierre CornubertJulien Lepestre
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Mono 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Consistently inspiring.

This bids fair to be the start of a mandatory collection for vocal collectors. It’s the first of a French tenors series from Marston, and this inaugurating volume includes the complete recordings of two important figures - Émile Scaramberg and Pierre Cornubert, and selected recordings made by Julien Leprestre. All were made in a roughly two-year period between 1905 and 1906.

Scaramberg (1863-1938) studied in Paris and made in his debut in 1893 and was soon singing at the most important French houses. By 1896-97 he was partnering Melba at Nice and making his Covent Garden debut. He sang new repertoire, Wagner, the first modern revival of Gluck’s Armide and much else besides.
Read more His career ended in early 1907 with the onset of what the booklet notes describe as ‘vocal difficulties’ so we are fortunate that he made as many recordings as he did in his prime.

Curious to see what Michael Scott had to say about Scaramberg in his book, and remembering vaguely that it wasn’t pleasant, I discovered that he’d actually called him ‘pedestrian…and provincial’. Since the tenor was a major figure and his records are collectable it would have been educative to know how many sides Scott listened to before coming to this utterly dismissive and frankly wretched summary. It’s hard to know what could lead one to such an assessment. Scaramberg’s Manon is actually quite scrupulous – there are two takes of Ah! Fuyez. Since Scott also alleged that the tenor had no legato it’s necessary to cite the aria from Gounod’s La Reine de Saba for just this quality – and for an impressive theatrical presence as well, unforced and dramatic. On this evidence he was a natural and unaffected Wagner singer suffering not at all from German-Wagnerian-tenorial barks such as afflicted a number of his colleagues across the border. His Faust is cultured and in the best French style full of a strong narrative sense and a vivid head voice. In the extracts from Roméo et Juliette his soprano partner is the uncommunicative and rather noncommittal Georgette Bréjean-Silver. His Rigoletto may not be technically watertight but it has a raffish air and is stylish and not done down by any gauche gestures. He sounds like a born studio artist in fact. We are faced with small abundances here as there are multiple recordings of the Siciliana from Cavalleria Rusticana – two takes with piano accompaniment, one with instrumental.

Pierre Cornubert (1863-1922) was a Parisian. His debut came in 1887 and though he sang principally in France, in the 1899-1900 season he sang in Havana and Mexico City, followed by appearances at the Met (in L’Africaine and Roméo amongst others). Other performances are noted at Covent Garden, Warsaw and Antwerp. His was perhaps not as dramatic or strong a voice as Scaramberg’s but on the evidence of these fifteen sides (two on cylinder) he was just as stylish an exponent of the French repertoire in particular. The phrasing and compass of his Pays merveilleux!...Ô paradis! are both very fine and if there’s a touch of strain in his Roméo compensation comes from its idiomatic strength. True his exploration into aria antiche is not a success - Plaisir d’amour is lugubrious. But he is back on safe ground when he essays Massenet’s Ouvre tes yeux bleus which he sings with considerable subtlety sand stylistic assurance. The more heroic and dramatic side of his singing can be gauged from Boieldieu’s charmingly spick and span Ah, quel plaisir d’être soldat from La Dame Blanche which is conveyed with real élan.

The third tenor is Julien Leprestre (1864-1909). He died only three years after making these sides – we have a selection of six from the eleven he made. He sang frequently at the Opéra-Comique and indeed being the least well known of the triumvirate booklet writer Vincent Giroud goes into extensive detail as to the performances throughout his sadly truncated career. The notes by the way are fully up to the usual exalted biography-and-analysis standard set by this company. Leprestre has the warmest and perhaps most immediately appealing of the three voices documented. His vibrato was quite quick but the timbre of the voice is, I think, preferable to Cornubert’s. He sings with finely characterised intelligence, is personable, and immediately attractive. It’s clearly an injustice that he has been so relatively forgotten in relation to his better-known contemporaries.

As long as Marston choose so wisely and so well, annotate with such generosity, transfer with such assiduous intelligence and package their product with such well chosen photographs then they will have ready adherents for what are some of the most consistently inspiring historical discs now before the public.

-- Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1. Manon: Ah! fuyez, douce image by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Emile Scaramberg (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883-1884; France 
Date of Recording: c1905-1906 
2. La reine de Saba: Inspirez-moi, race divine by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Emile Scaramberg (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1862; France 
Date of Recording: c1905-1906 
3. Carmen: La fleur que tu m'avais jetée "Flower song" by Georges Bizet
Performer:  Emile Scaramberg (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873-1874; France 
Date of Recording: c1905-1906 
4. Lohengrin: Atmest du nicht mit mir by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Emile Scaramberg (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1847; Germany 
Date of Recording: c1905-1906 
Language: French 
5. Sigurd: Prince du Rhin by Ernest Reyer
Performer:  Emile Scaramberg (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: c1905-1906 
6. Werther: J'aurais sur ma poitrine by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Emile Scaramberg (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; France 
Date of Recording: c1905-1906 
7. Mireille: Anges du paradis by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Emile Scaramberg (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1864; France 
Date of Recording: c1905-1906 
8. Lakmé: Fantaisie aux divins mensonges by Léo Delibes
Performer:  Emile Scaramberg (Tenor)
Written: 1883 
Date of Recording: c1905-1906 
9. Faust: Salut! demeure chaste et pure by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Emile Scaramberg (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; France 
Date of Recording: c1905-1906 
10. Faust: O nuit d'amour by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Emile Scaramberg (Tenor), Georgette Brejean-Silver (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; France 
Date of Recording: c1905-1906 
11. Roméo et Juliette: Ange adorable [Madrigal] by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Emile Scaramberg (Tenor), Georgette Brejean-Silver (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867; France 
Date of Recording: c1905-1906 
12. Roméo et Juliette: Ah! lève-toi, soleil by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Emile Scaramberg (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867; France 
Date of Recording: c1905-1906 
13. Roméo et Juliette: Salut, tombeau sombre et silencieux! by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Emile Scaramberg (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867; France 
Date of Recording: c1905-1906 
14. La Favorita: Spirto gentil by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Emile Scaramberg (Tenor)
Written: 1843 
Date of Recording: c1905-1906 
Language: Italian 
15. L'Africaine: O paradis sorti de l'onde by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Emile Scaramberg (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1865; Germany 
Date of Recording: c1905-1906 
16. Rigoletto: Questa o quella by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Emile Scaramberg (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Italy 
Date of Recording: c1905-1906 
Language: French 
17. Rigoletto: La donna è mobile by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Emile Scaramberg (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Italy 
Date of Recording: c1905-1906 
Language: French 
18. I Pagliacci: Recitar!...Vesti la giubba by Ruggero Leoncavallo
Performer:  Emile Scaramberg (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Italy 
Date of Recording: c1905-1906 
Language: French 
19. Cavalleria Rusticana: O Lola, ch'ai di latti la cammisa by Pietro Mascagni
Performer:  Emile Scaramberg (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1890; Italy 
Date of Recording: c1905-1906 
20. Fedora: Amor ti vieta by Umberto Giordano
Performer:  Emile Scaramberg (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1898; Italy 
Date of Recording: c1905-1906 
Language: French 
21. Mignon: Elle ne croyait pas by Ambroise Thomas
Performer:  Emile Scaramberg (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1866; France 
Date of Recording: c1906 
22. Si j'étais roi: J'ignore son nom, sa naissance by Adolphe Adam
Performer:  Emile Scaramberg (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1852; France 
Date of Recording: c1906 
23. Roméo et Juliette: Ah! lève-toi, soleil by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Emile Scaramberg (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867; France 
Date of Recording: c1906 
24. Mireille: Anges du paradis by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Emile Scaramberg (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1864; France 
Date of Recording: c1906 
25. Lakmé: Fantaisie aux divins mensonges by Léo Delibes
Performer:  Emile Scaramberg (Tenor)
Written: 1883 
Date of Recording: c1906 
26. Manon: Je suis seul...Ah! fuyez, douce image by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Emile Scaramberg (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883-1884; France 
Date of Recording: c1906 
27. Werther: J'aurais sur ma poitrine by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Emile Scaramberg (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; France 
Date of Recording: c1906 
28. Werther: Pourquoi me réveiller? by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Emile Scaramberg (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; France 
Date of Recording: c1906 
29. Cavalleria Rusticana: O Lola, ch'ai di latti la cammisa by Pietro Mascagni
Performer:  Emile Scaramberg (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1890; Italy 
Date of Recording: c1906 
30. Fedora: Amor ti vieta by Umberto Giordano
Performer:  Emile Scaramberg (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1898; Italy 
Date of Recording: c1906 
Language: French 
31. Les Huguenots: Sous le beau ciel de Touraine by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Pierre Cornubert (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1905 
32. Les Huguenots: Plus blanche que la blanche hermine by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Pierre Cornubert (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1905 
33. L'Africaine: O paradis sorti de l'onde by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Pierre Cornubert (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1865; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1905 
34. Roméo et Juliette: Salut, tombeau sombre et silencieux! by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Pierre Cornubert (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867; France 
Date of Recording: 1905 
35. Manon: Ah! fuyez, douce image by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Pierre Cornubert (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883-1884; France 
Date of Recording: 1905 
36. Werther: Pourquoi me réveiller? by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Pierre Cornubert (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; France 
Date of Recording: 1905 
37. Sigurd: Hilda! Vierge au pâle sourire by Ernest Reyer
Performer:  Pierre Cornubert (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1884; France 
Date of Recording: 1905 
38. Die Walküre: Winterstürme wichen dem Wonnemond by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Pierre Cornubert (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1856; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1905 
Language: French 
39. C’est mon ami by Traditional
Performer:  Pierre Cornubert (Tenor)
Date of Recording: c1905 
40. Plaisir d'amour by Giovanni Battist Martini
Performer:  Pierre Cornubert (Tenor)
Period: Classical 
Date of Recording: c1905 
41. Poème d'amour: no 3, Ouvre tes yeux bleus by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Pierre Cornubert (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1879; France 
Date of Recording: c1905 
42. La chanson du baiser by Isadore De Lara
Performer:  Pierre Cornubert (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: c1905 
43. Ton sourire by Cathérine
Performer:  Pierre Cornubert (Tenor)
Date of Recording: c1905 
44. La dame blanche: Oh, quel plasir d'etre soldat by François Boieldieu
Performer:  Pierre Cornubert (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1825; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 1908 
45. Il trovatore: Quel suon...Ah! che la morte "Miserere" by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Pierre Cornubert (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1908 
Language: French 
46. Martha: Blickt sein Auge doch so ehrlich by Friedrich von Flotow
Performer:  Julien Lepestre (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1847; Germany 
Date of Recording: c1905-1906 
Language: French 
47. La Bohème: Che gelida manina by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Julien Lepestre (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
Date of Recording: c1905-1906 
Language: French 
48. Strophes by Marietti
Performer:  Julien Lepestre (Tenor)
Date of Recording: c1905-1906 
49. Manon: Ah! fuyez, douce image by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Julien Lepestre (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883-1884; France 
Date of Recording: c1905-1906 
50. Les dragons de Villars: Ne parle pas, Rose, je t'en supplie by Aimé Maillart
Performer:  Julien Lepestre (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1856; France 
Date of Recording: c1905-1906 
51. Le Voyage en Chine: La Chine est un pays charmant by François Bazin
Performer:  Julien Lepestre (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 
Date of Recording: c1905-1906 

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