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Carnaval des Animaux / Arco Baleno

Arco Baleno Ensemble
Release Date: 09/01/2009 
Label:  Etcetera Records   Catalog #: 1266   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Camille Saint-SaënsMarc MatthijsJan HuylebroeckFrits Celis,   ... 
Performer:  Gabriëla Fragner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arco Baleno
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 15 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews





If you have no children of your own, and you find the prospect of buying this CD for yourself a bit embarrassing, just persuade some kid in the record shop to follow you up to the checkout counter as if he’s yours. This is a most delightful disc for the child in all of us.


Saint-Saëns’s Carnival of the Animals is, of course, widely known in a variety of arrangements, including those with accompanying spoken verses written by Ogden Nash. The present version is an instrumental one, featuring the full complement of players that constitute the Flemish Read more ensemble Arco Baleno in one of the wittiest and best executed performances I’ve yet to hear.


But the real charm of this release is the Noah’s Ark of a bestiary that constitutes the rest of the program. Most readers will probably not have heard of any of these composers, all of them contemporary Belgians, and most of them products of the Conservatory in Ghent. But each in his own way is a musical caricaturist of considerable talent, a master of the tongue-in-cheek put-down and send-up. Boudewijn Buckinx, (b. 1945) for example, tells us that his rabbit ( Konijn ), unsurpassed in the noble art of frolicking, has unfortunately died, but is here remembered with five minutes or so of music. On a more serious note, Frits Celis (b. 1929) explains that his piece, Elégie pour un faon (“Elegy for a Fawn”), is intended as an indictment of the over-hunting of deer and hinds in France and elsewhere. One cannot help but wonder though if the title of the piece is not also a play on Debussy’s famous Fawn Prelude .


Following in Saint-Saëns’s footsteps, Rolan Coryn’s (b. 1938) Eléphantasia continues the metaphor of the elephant as a double bass. Lucien Posman’s (b. 1952) Pauw (“Peacock”) gets his feathers in a ruffle when he meets his peahen paramour. My favorite though has to be Jan Huylebroeck’s (b. 1956) Cortège des espèces bien mortes (“Cortege of the dead species”), a medley parody that manages to off-quote the opening of Shostakovich’s E-Minor Piano Trio, Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta , Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King , and just about every well-worn musical cliché you can think of.


I should mention that all of these composers are also gainfully employed writing serious music, and are involved in various Belgian organizations dedicated to the advancement of contemporary music. This CD may find them in lighter mood, but one that is no less revealing of artistic merit. The Arco Baleno Ensemble is an extraordinarily accomplished group, both in its individual players and as a corporate entity. Etcetera’s recording is astonishingly alive and present. A wonderful CD for children and adults of all ages.


FANFARE: Jerry Dubins
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Works on This Recording

1.
Carnival of the animals by Camille Saint-Saëns
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arco Baleno
Written: 1886 
Date of Recording: 10/2001-11/2001 
Venue:  Galaxy Studios, Mol, Belgium 
Length: 21 Minutes 26 Secs. 
2.
Camel Caravan, for ensemble by Marc Matthijs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arco Baleno
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 10/2001-11/2001 
Venue:  Galaxy Studios, Mol, Belgium 
Length: 6 Minutes 17 Secs. 
3.
Cortège des espèces bien mortes, for violin, viola & percussion by Jan Huylebroeck
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arco Baleno
Date of Recording: 10/2001-11/2001 
Venue:  Galaxy Studios, Mol, Belgium 
Length: 9 Minutes 52 Secs. 
4.
Elégie pour un faon, for flute & string quartet by Frits Celis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arco Baleno
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 10/2001-11/2001 
Venue:  Galaxy Studios, Mol, Belgium 
Length: 9 Minutes 40 Secs. 
5.
Drakemie, for ensemble by Petra Vermote
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arco Baleno
Date of Recording: 10/2001-11/2001 
Venue:  Galaxy Studios, Mol, Belgium 
Length: 2 Minutes 54 Secs. 
6.
Eléphantasia, for double bass by Roland Coryn
Performer:  Gabriëla Fragner (Double Bass)
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 10/2001-11/2001 
Venue:  Galaxy Studios, Mol, Belgium 
Length: 6 Minutes 44 Secs. 
7.
Konijn, for ensemble by Boudewijn Buckinx
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arco Baleno
Date of Recording: 10/2001-11/2001 
Venue:  Galaxy Studios, Mol, Belgium 
Length: 4 Minutes 49 Secs. 
8.
Kameleon, for ensemble by Yves Bondue
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arco Baleno
Date of Recording: 10/2001-11/2001 
Venue:  Galaxy Studios, Mol, Belgium 
Length: 6 Minutes 41 Secs. 
9.
Pauw, for ensemble by Lucien Posman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arco Baleno
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 10/2001-11/2001 
Venue:  Galaxy Studios, Mol, Belgium 
Length: 5 Minutes 5 Secs. 

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