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Massenet, Saint-Saëns / Frémaux, P. Tortelier, et al


Release Date: 06/10/2003 
Label:  Emi Classics Encore Catalog #: 75871   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Jules MassenetCamille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Elisabeth RobinsonAnthony MoroneyPaul TortelierMaria de la Pau Tortelier,   ... 
Conductor:  Louis Frémaux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 12 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

If you spent any time at all in hi-fi stores in the early-1970s you probably got an earful of Louis Frémaux's EMI Massenet LP, especially the ballet Le Cid, whose big opening tutti, wide dynamics, and clicking castanets made it an audiophile hit at the time. It still sounds very good, though the passage of time and assembly-line digital processing slightly dims its 21st-century allure. The work encompasses the Act 2 ballet music of Massenet's 1885 opera, loosely based on a fictionalized version of the 12th-century warrior's life. The composer reveled in the Spanish rhythms associated with each of the regions depicted in the music, so it's full of danceable, bright, tuneful music that's easy to listen to. There's a deliciously sinuous Read more Andalous, an energetic Aragonaise, and a sockaroo closing number in Navarraise. But the Madrilène, with its gorgeous cor anglais and flute solos, though less flashy, is the one you're bound to keep returning to.

The Scénes pittoresques, the fourth of Massenet's seven orchestral suites, is as charming. Its four movements offer more in the way of contrast than does Le Cid, and are as melodically fetching. The Angélus movement, with its haunting wind refrains and horns simulating the sound of tolling bells, occupies the intersection of religiosity and sensuousness in ways the late French Romantics seemed to fully master. The last of the Massenet items, The Last Sleep of the Virgin, is the epitome of that dubious exercise, but if you're not jaded by the piece yet, you'll enjoy this fine performance.

The rest of the disc is given over to shorter Saint-Saëns works, highlighted by Paul Tortelier's leanly graceful The Swan and his attractively vigorous Allegro appassionato. The remaining works for violin solo and orchestra are pleasant, well-played, and forgettable. This is music right up Frémaux's alley; he conducts with real affection for each of the works on this disc, getting first-rate playing from the City of Birmingham Orchestra he led for a decade. An undemanding but enjoyable program.

--Dan Davis, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Le Cid: Ballet music by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Elisabeth Robinson (English Horn), Anthony Moroney (Flute)
Conductor:  Louis Frémaux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885; France 
2.
Suite for Orchestra no 4 "Scènes pittoresques" by Jules Massenet
Conductor:  Louis Frémaux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; France 
3.
Carnival of the animals: no 13, The swan by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Paul Tortelier (Cello)
Conductor:  Louis Frémaux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886; France 
4.
Wedding Cake for Piano and String Orchestra in A flat major, Op. 76 by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Maria de la Pau Tortelier (Piano)
Conductor:  Louis Frémaux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885; France 
5.
La Vierge: Dernier sommeil de la Vierge by Jules Massenet
Conductor:  Louis Frémaux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880; France 
6.
Allegro appassionato for Cello and Orchestra/Piano in B minor, Op. 43 by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Paul Tortelier (Cello)
Conductor:  Louis Frémaux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873; France 
7.
Le déluge, Op. 45: Prelude by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Yan Pascal Tortelier (Violin)
Conductor:  Louis Frémaux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1875; France 
8.
Caprice brillant for Violin and Piano by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Yan Pascal Tortelier (Violin)
Conductor:  Louis Frémaux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; Paris, France 
Notes: Arranged: Eugène Ysaÿe 

Sound Samples

Le Cid (ballet music): I. Castillane
Le Cid (ballet music): II. Andalouse
Le Cid (ballet music): III. Aragonaise
Le Cid (ballet music): IV. Aubade
Le Cid (ballet music): V. Catalane
Le Cid (ballet music): VI. Madrilène (Elizabeth Robinson, cor anglais; Anthony Moroney, flute)
Le Cid (ballet music): VII. Navarraise
Suite No. 4: Scènes pittoresques: I. Marche
Suite No. 4: Scènes pittoresques: II. Air de ballet
Suite No. 4: Scènes pittoresques: III. Angélus
Suite No. 4: Scènes pittoresques: IV. Fête bohème
La Vierge: Le dernier sommeil de la Vierge (The Last Sleep of the Virgin)
Le Carnaval des animaux - Grand Fantaisie zoologique: Le Cygne
Allegro appassionato in B minor Op. 43 (2003 drm)
Caprice for violin and orchestra (No. 6 of Six Etudes Op. 52)
Le Déluge Op. 45 - Prelude
Wedding Cake - Valse-Caprice Op. 76

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