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Maurice Hewitt Conducts Rameau / L'ensemble Hewitt


Release Date: 09/05/2006 
Label:  Cascavelle   Catalog #: 3092   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Jean-Philippe Rameau
Performer:  Iréne JoachimCamille MauraneRaymond Malvasio
Conductor:  Maurice Hewitt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Maurice Hewitt OrchestraYvonne Gouverné Chorus
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Mono 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



RAMEAU 6 Concerts en sextuor. Les Indes galantes: Excerpts Maurice Hewitt, cond; Irène Joachim (sop); Camille Maurane (bar); L’Ensemble Orchestral Hewitt CASCAVELLE 3092 (2 CDs: 107:51)


I’d been working through the night on a project. So when our beloved Editor called one bright morning and offered Rameau conducted by Hewitt, I immediately thought, “Oh, Angela Hewitt. She’s extended her artistic range.” Imagine my surprise when the disc arrived and I played it without Read more really examining the thing first, only to discover it was an archival recording from the 1940s and 1950s, featuring a string orchestra. That fact struck me forcibly while listening to the 1952 Concerts en sextuor . The trills were all wrong, the rallentandos were noticeable, and the arrangements lost both the textural character and some of the complexity of the originals. The vibratoless sound, however, was a reminder that this approach to string textures didn’t suddenly appear with scholarly zealots in the 1970s. Vilmos Tátrai, for one, used something very close to it in his pioneering series of Haydn quartets. But where did Hewitt get the idea? The French are a nation of cultural traditionalists, but they reinvent themselves stylistically every few decades. The conductor would have had nothing in his immediate musical environment to draw upon for continuity.


Then I remembered the Capet String Quartet, with its startling series of performances and recordings in the early decades of the 20th century, using a flexible but frequently minimalist vibrato. It occurred to me that I might have seen Hewitt’s name in the lineup of the Capet. Could he have been the violist or second violinist at any point in time?


At that point, I finally did what I should have done (and usually do) much earlier, and checked the liner notes. It was a good guess: Hewitt had played not once, but twice as second violinist with the Capet Quartet, from 1909 to 1914, and again from 1918 until Lucien Capet’s untimely death in 1928. It’s clear that Hewitt either learned a lesson about the kind of sound for Baroque music from Capet, or agreed with his interpretations. Regardless, the Concerts en sextuor have a leaner, lighter texture than you might expect, given the age of this recording. They also stand up very well as an interpretation, all comments about style, above, to one side. Hewitt had a strong grasp of both the structure and dramatic content in each of these movements, and communicated these factors well. His fast movements have vivacity; his slow movements flow with a naturalness from which all trace of modern jitteriness is missing. The dry acoustic does the orchestra no favors, so it’s a good thing they sound so well rehearsed. Still, several moments would have benefited from a cosmetic touch-up session.


The ballet héroïque, Les Indes galantes , was recorded in 1942 and 1943, shortly before the Nazis realized recordings such as these were acts of cultural defiance and had them stopped. The two primary vocalists are Irène Joachim—clear, strong, and cold, very much in what the French regarded at the time as the Classical manner—and Camille Maurane, a baryton-martin with a bright, authoritative ring who clearly felt more at home in the upper part of the role than in its lowest notes. His smooth, mellifluous delivery is especially pleasing to hear, at a time when performers of French opera and song were going into temporary decline. Hewitt is, once again, stylish in the broader sense of the word, with a feeling for rhythms, tempo, and expression that not all of his successors have managed to convey. The acoustic in these earlier transfers is slightly more roomy, with the singers forward to the microphone.


As for Hewitt, he really deserves a full-length biography. Born in 1884, he studied at the Paris Conservatory, and took a celebrated part in prestigious quartets from the age of 20. In later years, he made numerous pioneering recordings and radio broadcasts, and gave many concerts as conductor and chamber musician. He was also part of the Buckmaster network in the French Resistance, denounced in late 1943, and sent to Buchenwald, where he started up concerts again. After liberation, he gave a famous concert of the Fauré Requiem in memory of the French who had been deported to and died in Germany, wearing deportee clothes as he conducted. His musical activities continued unabated through the 1950s. He died in 1973.


Cascavelle has refurbished these old releases charily, leaving in hiss and rumble because their removal would interfere with frequency response. My only concern is a side join with clear pitch issues in “Clair flambeau du monde.” The beginning of a 78-rpm side plays at a slightly yet noticeably different pitch than its conclusion, due to the playback mechanics of fixed speed turntables. (This applies as well to LPs, but to a much-reduced extent.) These side joins are carefully kept up to speed during the editing process, and none of the other cuts suffer in this fashion, so this one must have slipped by the engineers.


This album is obviously not competitive with newer versions of either work. But it is highly enjoyable in its own right, and like everything else I’ve sampled thus far in Cascavelle’s historical series, well worth the purchase price.


FANFARE: Barry Brenesal
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Works on This Recording

1.
Pièces de clavecin en concerts by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Conductor:  Maurice Hewitt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Maurice Hewitt Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1741; France 
2.
Les Indes galantes: Entrée des Quatre-Nations by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Conductor:  Maurice Hewitt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Yvonne Gouverné Chorus,  Maurice Hewitt Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1735/1761; France 
Length: 1 Minutes 29 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: 11/16/1942 - 11/17/1942 
3.
Les Indes galantes: Musette en rondeau by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Performer:  Iréne Joachim (Soprano)
Conductor:  Maurice Hewitt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Yvonne Gouverné Chorus,  Maurice Hewitt Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1735/1761; France 
Length: 2 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: 11/16/1942 - 11/17/1942
Composition written: France (1735 - 1761). 
4.
Les Indes galantes: Ritournelle by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Conductor:  Maurice Hewitt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Yvonne Gouverné Chorus,  Maurice Hewitt Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1735/1761; France 
Length: 1 Minutes 36 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: 11/16/1942 - 11/17/1942 
5.
Les Indes galantes: Rigaudon by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Conductor:  Maurice Hewitt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Yvonne Gouverné Chorus,  Maurice Hewitt Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: France 
Length: 1 Minutes 27 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: 11/16/1942 - 11/17/1942
Composition written: France (1735 - 1761). 
6.
Les Indes galantes: Tambourin no 1 & 2 by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Conductor:  Maurice Hewitt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Yvonne Gouverné Chorus,  Maurice Hewitt Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1735/1761; France 
Length: 1 Minutes 7 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: 11/16/1942 - 11/17/1942 
7.
Les Indes galantes: Air pour les Esclaves africains by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Conductor:  Maurice Hewitt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Yvonne Gouverné Chorus,  Maurice Hewitt Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1735/1761; France 
Length: 1 Minutes 47 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: 11/16/1942 - 11/17/1942 
8.
Les Indes galantes: Soleil, on a détruit tes superbes asiles by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Performer:  Camille Maurane (Baritone)
Conductor:  Maurice Hewitt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Yvonne Gouverné Chorus,  Maurice Hewitt Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1735/1761; France 
Length: 2 Minutes 5 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: 11/16/1942 - 11/17/1942 
9.
Les Indes galantes: Adoration du Soleil by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Conductor:  Maurice Hewitt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Yvonne Gouverné Chorus,  Maurice Hewitt Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1735/1761; France 
Length: 1 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: 11/16/1942 - 11/17/1942 
10.
Les Indes galantes: Brillant soleil by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Performer:  Camille Maurane (Baritone)
Conductor:  Maurice Hewitt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Yvonne Gouverné Chorus,  Maurice Hewitt Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1735/1761; France 
Length: 3 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: 11/16/1942 - 11/17/1942
Composition written: France (1735 - 1761). 
11.
Les Indes galantes: Air des Incas pour la dévotion du Soleil "Clair flambeau du monde" by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Performer:  Camille Maurane (Baritone)
Conductor:  Maurice Hewitt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Yvonne Gouverné Chorus,  Maurice Hewitt Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: France 
Length: 3 Minutes 52 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: 11/16/1942 - 11/17/1942
Composition written: France (1735 - 1761). 
12.
Les Indes galantes: Loure en Rondeau by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Conductor:  Maurice Hewitt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Yvonne Gouverné Chorus,  Maurice Hewitt Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1735/1761; France 
Length: 1 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: 11/16/1942 - 11/17/1942 
13.
Les Indes galantes: Permettez astre du jour by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Performer:  Camille Maurane (Baritone)
Conductor:  Maurice Hewitt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Yvonne Gouverné Chorus,  Maurice Hewitt Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: France 
Length: 2 Minutes 46 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: 11/16/1942 - 11/17/1942
Composition written: France (1735 - 1761). 
14.
Les Indes galantes: Gavotte by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Conductor:  Maurice Hewitt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Yvonne Gouverné Chorus,  Maurice Hewitt Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1735/1761; France 
Length: 1 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: 11/16/1942 - 11/17/1942 
15.
Les Indes galantes: Pour jamais l'amour nous engage by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Performer:  Camille Maurane (Baritone), Raymond Malvasio (Tenor)
Conductor:  Maurice Hewitt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Yvonne Gouverné Chorus,  Maurice Hewitt Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: France 
Length: 1 Minutes 24 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: 11/16/1942 - 11/17/1942
Composition written: France (1735 - 1761). 
16.
Les Indes galantes: Dans les abîmes by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Conductor:  Maurice Hewitt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Yvonne Gouverné Chorus,  Maurice Hewitt Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1735/1761; France 
Length: 1 Minutes 29 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: 11/16/1942 - 11/17/1942 
17.
Les Indes galantes: Ritournelle II by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Conductor:  Maurice Hewitt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Yvonne Gouverné Chorus,  Maurice Hewitt Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: France 
Length: 1 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: 11/16/1942 - 11/17/1942
Composition written: France (1735 - 1761). 
18.
Les Indes galantes: Gavotte en rondeau by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Conductor:  Maurice Hewitt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Yvonne Gouverné Chorus,  Maurice Hewitt Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: France 
Length: 1 Minutes 27 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: 11/16/1942 - 11/17/1942
Composition written: France (1735 - 1761). 
19.
Les Indes galantes: Air vif pour Zéphire et la Rose by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Conductor:  Maurice Hewitt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Yvonne Gouverné Chorus,  Maurice Hewitt Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1735/1761; France 
Length: 0 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: 11/16/1942 - 11/17/1942 
20.
Les Indes galantes: Air pour les Persans by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Conductor:  Maurice Hewitt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Yvonne Gouverné Chorus,  Maurice Hewitt Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: France 
Length: 1 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: 11/16/1942 - 11/17/1942
Composition written: France (1735 - 1761). 
21.
Les Indes galantes: Annonce de l'Amour by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Conductor:  Maurice Hewitt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Yvonne Gouverné Chorus,  Maurice Hewitt Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: France 
Length: 1 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: 11/16/1942 - 11/17/1942
Composition written: France (1735 - 1761). 
22.
Les Indes galantes: Danse du Grand Calumet de la Paix by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Conductor:  Maurice Hewitt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Yvonne Gouverné Chorus,  Maurice Hewitt Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: France 
Length: 3 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: 11/16/1942 - 11/17/1942
Composition written: France (1735 - 1761). 
23.
Les Indes galantes: Forêts paisibles by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Performer:  Raymond Malvasio (Tenor)
Conductor:  Maurice Hewitt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Yvonne Gouverné Chorus,  Maurice Hewitt Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: France 
Length: 2 Minutes 43 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: 11/16/1942 - 11/17/1942
Composition written: France (1735).
Composition revised: France (1761). 
24.
Les Indes galantes: Chaconne by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Conductor:  Maurice Hewitt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Yvonne Gouverné Chorus,  Maurice Hewitt Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1735/1761; France 
Length: 8 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: 11/16/1942 - 11/17/1942 

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