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Ernest Ansermet Conducts Lalo & Chabrier

Chabrier / Ansermet / Orch Suisse Romande
Release Date: 03/16/2010 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 4800049   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Edouard LaloEmmanuel Chabrier
Performer:  Michel CuvitAndré PépinRuggiero Ricci
Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 30 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



CHABRIER Habañera. España. Suite pastorale. Joyeuse Marche. Le Roi malgré lui: Danse slave; Fête polonaise. LALO Symphonie espagnole. 1 Namouna: excerpts. Divertissement: Andantino. Scherzo for Orchestra . Rapsodie norvégienne. Le Roi d’Ys: Overture Read more class="ARIAL12">Ernest Ansermet, cond; 1 Ruggiero Ricci (vn); Suisse Romande O DECCA ELOQUENCE 480 0049 (2 CDs: 150:27)


Debussy attended the premiere of Edouard Lalo’s Namouna and was reputedly thrown out for expressing his enthusiasm too loudly and forcefully. Why would the young Debussy have had such enthusiasm for someone whose music, in retrospect, seems so different from his? I believe they had, at least, one thing in common—an inclination to avoid the easy cadence and the symmetrical tune. The young Debussy wrote what seems to be conventional Romantic music but he usually found a way to give it a fresh, original touch, which is what got him into trouble with conservative critics. Listening to the Lalo pieces on this collection, I was struck by how off-center and eccentric some of Lalo’s music is. Granted, his most successful piece, the Symphonie espagnole, actually is fairly conventional, if a five-movement violin concerto can be called that. Happily, Ruggiero Ricci, unlike most violinists of his generation, actually performs all five movements and deserves additional praise for not knocking himself out trying to sound “Spanish.” He plays it “straight,” treating it like a late French Romantic violin concerto, which is just what it is.


Otherwise, much of what one hears on this set is an original, very personal approach to music masquerading as conventional French Romanticism. Take, for example, the overture to Lalo’s opera, Le Roi d’Ys . Would any audience be able to leave the theater humming the big, upward soaring tune introduced by the violins? It jumps all over the place—an amazing creation, and I wonder how any composer could think of it. Or try the long, convoluted cello solo halfway through the piece—it’s beautiful, all right, but very difficult to apprehend. Only someone with an off-center sensibility could have written this, and then there’s that crazy ending. At least the audience could take comfort from the Aubade, but even that tenor aria isn’t cookie-cutter stuff. You can hear the same originality at work in the Namouna excerpts, the Norwegian Rhapsody , a rousing showpiece for orchestra (it sounds vaguely “ethnic,” but Grieg it’s not), and the shorter pieces. Sadly, the Scherzo, along with the Magnard Symphony No. 3 from the same sessions, is the finale to the long series of great recordings Ansermet made with the Suisse Romande Orchestra. Originality, of course, does not go hand-in-hand with quality, and some people, even if they appreciate Lalo’s eccentric sensibility, may not be drawn to all his music, but at least he could say, along with Rousseau, “I may not be better than most men but at least I am different.”


For that matter, I suppose Chabrier could have said it, too, although he worked along more conventional lines. If he wanders off-center it is partly because of his sense of humor, and nowhere does it shine more brilliantly than in España with all its busy, crazy counterpoint going on under the now-familiar tunes. Ansermet exposes it all, making his the funniest and, therefore, the best of all Españas . Forgive the hyperbole, in which I seldom indulge, but I can say with the utmost sobriety that I think Ansermet’s España is one of the greatest recordings ever made of anything by anybody. The Habañera , which sounds just like, well, a habañera, is appearing in stereo for the first time. Like Ravel, Chabrier orchestrated some of his piano music with such success that one may not perceive its keyboard origins. All of the Suite pastorale was originally written for the piano, as was the eccentric Joyeuse marche ; in fact the latter was written for piano, four-hands, revised for solo piano, and then orchestrated! Several conductors, including Fournet, Jordan, and Paray, have recorded most of this music with success, but Ansermet’s performances have a touch of lightness and transparency that they, even with their obvious feeling for the music, cannot match. In fact, Ansermet’s admiration for Chabrier was such that he named his country house “La Chabrière.”


FANFARE: James Miller
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Works on This Recording

1.
Scherzo for Orchestra in D minor by Edouard Lalo
Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1884; France 
Date of Recording: 09/1968 
Venue:  Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland 
Length: 4 Minutes 46 Secs. 
2.
Norwegian Rhapsody for Orchestra by Edouard Lalo
Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1879; France 
Date of Recording: 10/1966 
Venue:  Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland 
Length: 11 Minutes 52 Secs. 
3.
Habañera by Emmanuel Chabrier
Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: 10/1955 
Venue:  Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland 
Length: 3 Minutes 40 Secs. 
4.
España by Emmanuel Chabrier
Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883; France 
Date of Recording: 12/1964 
Venue:  Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland 
Length: 7 Minutes 3 Secs. 
5.
Suite pastorale by Emmanuel Chabrier
Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888; France 
Date of Recording: 12/1964 
Venue:  Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland 
Length: 20 Minutes 42 Secs. 
6.
Joyeuse marche "Marche française" by Emmanuel Chabrier
Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: 12/1964 
Venue:  Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland 
Length: 4 Minutes 2 Secs. 
7.
Namouna: Prélude by Edouard Lalo
Performer:  Michel Cuvit (Trumpet), André Pépin (Flute)
Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 
Date of Recording: 10/1966 
Venue:  Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland 
Length: 6 Minutes 10 Secs. 
8.
Namouna: Sérénade by Edouard Lalo
Performer:  Michel Cuvit (Trumpet), André Pépin (Flute)
Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
Period: Post-Romantic 
Written: 1881-1882 
Date of Recording: 10/1966 
Venue:  Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland 
Length: 2 Minutes 55 Secs. 
9.
Namouna: Fête forlaine by Edouard Lalo
Performer:  André Pépin (Flute), Michel Cuvit (Trumpet)
Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1881-1882; France 
Date of Recording: 10/1966 
Venue:  Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland 
Length: 3 Minutes 56 Secs. 
10.
Namouna: La Valse de la Cigarette by Edouard Lalo
Performer:  André Pépin (Flute), Michel Cuvit (Trumpet)
Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
Period: Post-Romantic 
Written: 1881-1882 
Date of Recording: 10/1966 
Venue:  Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland 
Length: 5 Minutes 25 Secs. 
11.
Namouna: Parade de foire by Edouard Lalo
Performer:  André Pépin (Flute), Michel Cuvit (Trumpet)
Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
Period: Post-Romantic 
Written: 1881-1882 
Date of Recording: 10/1966 
Venue:  Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland 
Length: 5 Minutes 21 Secs. 
12.
Namouna: La Sieste by Edouard Lalo
Performer:  Michel Cuvit (Trumpet), André Pépin (Flute)
Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
Period: Post-Romantic 
Written: 1881-1882 
Date of Recording: 10/1966 
Venue:  Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland 
Length: 5 Minutes 20 Secs. 
13.
Namouna: Thème varié by Edouard Lalo
Performer:  Michel Cuvit (Trumpet), André Pépin (Flute)
Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
Period: Post-Romantic 
Written: 1881-1882 
Date of Recording: 10/1966 
Venue:  Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland 
Length: 5 Minutes 39 Secs. 
14.
Le roi malgré lui: Danse slave by Emmanuel Chabrier
Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887; France 
Date of Recording: 12/1964 
Venue:  Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland 
Length: 5 Minutes 5 Secs. 
15.
Le roi malgré lui: Fête polonaise by Emmanuel Chabrier
Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887; France 
Date of Recording: 12/1964 
Venue:  Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland 
Length: 8 Minutes 30 Secs. 
16.
Divertissement for Orchestra by Edouard Lalo
Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1872; France 
Date of Recording: 10/1966 
Venue:  Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland 
Length: 3 Minutes 58 Secs. 
17.
Symphonie espagnole, Op. 21 by Edouard Lalo
Performer:  Ruggiero Ricci (Violin)
Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873; France 
Date of Recording: 03/1959 
Venue:  Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland 
Length: 32 Minutes 28 Secs. 
18.
Le Roi d'Ys: Overture by Edouard Lalo
Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1875-1888; France 
Date of Recording: 05/1960 
Venue:  Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland 
Length: 11 Minutes 59 Secs. 

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