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Delibes: Coppelia; Massenet: Le Carillon / Richard Bonynge

Release Date: 11/19/2010 
Label:  London/Decca Jubilee Catalog #: 425472   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Léo DelibesJules Massenet
Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande OrchestraNational Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Le carillon is a one-act ballet first performed in the same year as Massenet's Werther, 1892. The story, stronger than in most ballets, tells of a Flemish clock-maker trying to repair the carillon in the local church in time for the arrival of the Duke of Burgundy; if he fails he will lose his fiancee and be imprisoned. During his last night at work, rivals for Bertha's hand try to ensure that he does fail, but with divine intervention he wins through.

The music is more substantial and impressive than I'd expected. The dialogue sentimental for the lovers (in the dark belfry?) is just that, but good playing makes it pleasing, and there are touches of humour in the cock-crows at dawn and a sudden 'surprise' chord far beyond
Read more Haydn's resources. The quality of the sound and Bonynge's sympathetic approach and unusual skill when tackling such music make this a record I can recommend with confidence.

-- Gramophone [11/1984, reviewing Le carillon]


Few full-length ballet-scores are better suited to gentle, not too sleepy background listening than Coppe/ia, and I can foresee a great success for this set even among collectors who are not ballet enthusiasts. Richard Bonynge has made something of a speciality in recording nineteenth-century ballet scores (for that matter in Delibes too when Decca's Lakme was his work) and no one is going to complain when the result is as fresh and sparkling as this. It was with this same orchestra that Ansermet made the first complete recording nearly fourteen years ago, and with some trifling reserva- - tions the players respond with natural stylishness. The old Decca sound was good for its time, but naturally the modern recording brings fine dividends in such music. There is a fairly ample Geneva acoustic round the sound, just enough reverberation in fact to give the right atmosphere, except that the horns are curiously recessed. Even that is not serious except in the seine which goes before the "Valse de la Poupee".

Richard Bonynge demonstrates right at the start the sort of 'sprung' rhythmic playing he is intent on producing. The Mazurka has splendid panache, the Automata music of Act 2 has lightness and sparkle with a splendid piccolo solo, and the waltzes bring gentle lilting rhythms that are neither sentimental on the one hand nor stiff on the other. But both in the Valse Lente and the Waltz at the beginning of Act 2 the lack of bite on violin tone is noticeable. Also in the Czardas. A good violin solo in the Ballade—plainly an orchestral leader not a regular virtuoso—and though the bassoon in the Mazurka is poor and the clarinet not good in the "Theme Slav vane", I must emphasise how little that detracts from the atmosphere of sparkle and jollity. This is an entirely worthy successor to Decca's previous Coppelia set, and with brilliant recording quality is not easily going to be rivalled.

-- Edward Greenfield, Gramophone [3/1971, reviewing Coppélia]
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Works on This Recording

Coppélia by Léo Delibes
Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1870; France 
Le carillon by Jules Massenet
Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; France 

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