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Dubois: Messe de Saint Remi, Messe de la Delivrance / Brousseau

Dubois / Knapik / Boucher / Kunz / Brousseau
Release Date: 04/27/2010 
Label:  Atma Classique   Catalog #: 2632   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Théodore Dubois
Performer:  Maria KnapikMarc Boucher
Conductor:  Michel Brousseau
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nouveau Monde Philharmonic OrchestraNouveau Monde Philharmonic ChorusLes Chanteurs de Sainte-Thérèse,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



DUBOIS Messe solenelle de Saint Remi. Messe de la Délivrance Michel Brousseau, cond; Maria Knapik (sop); Marc Boucher (bar); Jean-Willy Kunz (org); Nouveau Monde Phil Ch; Chanteurs de Sainte-Thérèse; Ottawa Classic Ch; Chœr Tremblant; Brass and Perc of L’Orchestre Philharmonique du Nouveau Monde ATMA ACD2 2632 (70:46 Text and Translation)


Théodore Dubois was an important musical figure in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in France, but Read more has been completely forgotten since his death in 1924. He studied with Ambroise Thomas (composer of Hamlet and Mignon ), followed Franck as choirmaster at Sainte-Clotilde, and then succeeded Saint-Saëns as organist at the Church of the Madeleine. He taught at the Paris Conservatory; his pupils include Dukas, Magnard, Ropartz, and Schmitt. He followed Thomas as director of the conservatory, and was, in turn, followed by Fauré. He wrote operas, major orchestral works, ballets, organ music, and choral music, both religious and secular. His dates (1837–1924) come close to overlapping completely with Saint-Saëns. Despite his significant place in the French musical establishment, he has almost completely vanished from the consciousness of the music world.


ATMA recorded one of his major chamber compositions a few years back, but I have not heard it. My only familiarity with Dubois was a single lovely song, recorded by the great French tenor Edmond Clement, who was also a contemporary of the composer. These two Masses, scored for choir, organ, brass, and percussion (vocal soloists and percussion only in the Messe de la Délivrance ) were lovely discoveries, particularly Délivrance.


Whenever I encounter a new work and feel pleasantly surprised by its quality, I put it away for a few days and listen again—just to be sure that I wasn’t over-rating the music because of low expectations. In this case I found repeated hearings only brought more pleasure. The Messe de Saint Remi is dedicated to one of the founders of Christianity in France, Saint Remi (437–533), and it is a mostly intimate, tender work with genuine melodic inspiration. The inadequate notes do not give a composition date for the Remi Mass.


Messe de la Délivrance , premiered in 1919, is a more varied and powerful work. It was composed as an ode to Joan of Arc, who had been canonized a few years earlier, and to the French soldiers. The mixture of strength and energy with serenity and peace makes a wonderful combination, and I know I will return to this music many times.


The Ottawa-based performances are first-rate—very committed with superb choral singing despite the fact that four choirs are combined here. Michel Brousseau’s conducting is well shaped and paced, and the two vocal soloists, who have fairly minor parts, sing more than adequately. The sound is warm, natural, appropriately reverberant without being muddy. As indicated above, the accompanying program notes are not at all adequate, especially for a composer as unknown as Dubois. Nonetheless, anyone who responds to the music of Fauré, Saint-Saëns, or Franck is likely to find a connection here, and it is enthusiastically recommended.


FANFARE: Henry Fogel
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Works on This Recording

1.
Messe solennelle de Saint-Rémi by Théodore Dubois
Performer:  Maria Knapik (Soprano), Marc Boucher (Baritone)
Conductor:  Michel Brousseau
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nouveau Monde Philharmonic Orchestra,  Nouveau Monde Philharmonic Chorus,  Les Chanteurs de Sainte-Thérèse  ... 
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1900 
2.
Messe de la Délivrance by Théodore Dubois
Performer:  Maria Knapik (Soprano), Marc Boucher (Baritone)
Conductor:  Michel Brousseau
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nouveau Monde Philharmonic Orchestra,  Nouveau Monde Philharmonic Chorus,  Les Chanteurs de Sainte-Thérèse  ... 
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1919 

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