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Sir Thomas Beecham: French Music - Berlioz, Bizet, Delibes, Debussy, Faure, Etc.

Beecham,Thomas
Release Date: 03/22/2011 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 9932   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Hector BerliozGeorges BizetCharles GounodLéo Delibes,   ... 
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF National OrchestraRoyal Philharmonic OrchestraBeecham Choral Society,   ... 
Number of Discs: 6 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

FRENCH MUSIC Thomas Beecham, cond; Royal PO; French Natl RO; London PO EMI 09932 2, stereo/mono1 (6 CDs: 407:56)

BERLIOZ Symphonie fantastique (FNRO). Overtures: Corsaire; 1Le Carnaval romain (LPO); Le Roi Lear. Les Troyens: Read more class="ARIAL12i">Trojan March; Royal Hunt and Storm. La Damnation de Faust: Danse des sylphes; Menuet des follets. BIZET Symphony in C (FNRO). L’Arlesienne: Suites Nos. 1 and 2. Carmen: Suite (FNRO). 1Patrie. 1Roma: Carnaval. DELIBES Le Roi s’amuse: Ballet Music. DEBUSSY Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune. L’Enfant prodigue: Cortège et air de danse. SAINT-SAËNS Samson et Dalila: Dance of the Priestesses; Bacchanale. Le Rouet d’Omphale. MASSENET 1Cendrillon: Valse. La Vierge: Le Dernier sommeil de la Vierge. GOUNOD 1Faust: Ballet Music. Roméo et Juliette: Le Sommeil de Juliette. CHABRIER 1Gwendoline: Overture (FNRO). Joyeuse marche. 1España (LPO). FAURÉ Dolly (FNRO). Pavane (FNRO). FRANCK Symphony in d (FNRO). LALO Symphony in g (FNRO). GRÉTRY 1Zémire et Azor: Ballet Music. VIDAL Zino-Zina: Gavotte

This volume consists almost completely of stereo-era recordings, and of course features the items Beecham recorded with the French National Radio Orchestra. The Berlioz recordings are among many highlights; the Symphonie fantastique receives a reading of great clarity, vigor, and excitement, and the Corsaire Overture that Beecham conducted in his 80th year is as fiery as his 78 rpm version. The “Royal Hunt and Storm” from Les Troyens features incomparable horn playing, presumably that of Dennis Brain. These three items also form the contents of a single-CD issue in EMI’s “Great Recordings of the Century” series, a designation that can be used here without hyperbole.

The excerpts from The Damnation of Faust were standard Beecham fare; the “Menuet des follets” may not be as feather-light as the 1937 LPO version—on which Beecham can be heard telling the orchestra “thank you very much,” before the engineer could cut off the mike—but still makes a wonderful effect. The remaining two Berlioz overtures are from 78 originals: Le Carnaval romain, the work with which Beecham introduced his new orchestra in 1932, is a high-energy version from 1936; the overture Le Roi Lear, recorded in 1947, was a rarity at the time.

Bizet’s remarkable Symphony in C on CD 2, written at the age of 17, receives a remarkably vivacious reading, especially when one considers that the conductor was then 80 years old! The ballet music by Delibes and a number of the other items on CDs 3 and 4 are the sort of light music on which Beecham lavished much care; the ballet music from Faust has a wonderful lilt, and such items as Saint-Saëns’s Le Rouet d’Omphale show Beecham’s perfect touch in this repertoire. The music-making in Fauré’s Dolly is highly affectionate; Jenkins’s notes mention that “Beecham had never conducted Dolly before, though he recalled playing piano duets with its composer 50 years before.”

This volume includes some of Beecham’s favorite “lollipops”: the excerpts from Massenet’s oratorio La Vierge and Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette are among these; he also shows a perfect touch in Fauré’s Pavane, his last recording. Several items here are works Beecham rescued from obscurity: Chabrier’s Gwendoline Overture and the ballet music from André-Ernest-Modeste Grétry’s opera Zémire et Azor are two examples.

César Franck’s and Édouard Lalo’s symphonies receive suitably dramatic readings; the Franck was a favorite of Beecham’s. He makes about all he can of Lalo’s essay, the finale of which illustrates well the composer’s technique of taking a musical idea and driving it into the ground.

Many of the performances in this volume are taken from masterings made for the “Great Recordings of the Century” series, but most of the mono recordings unfortunately use the 1991–92 Beecham Edition transfers by Dutton. Never mind; these recordings represent Beecham at his very best. Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14 by Hector Berlioz
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830; France 
2.
Le corsaire Overture, Op. 21 by Hector Berlioz
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1844; France 
3.
Les troyens: Trojan March by Hector Berlioz
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1856-1858; France 
4.
Les troyens: Royal hunt and storm by Hector Berlioz
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Beecham Choral Society
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1856-1858; France 
5.
Symphony in C major by Georges Bizet
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1855; France 
Date of Recording: 1959 
Venue:  Wagram Hall, Paris, France 
Length: 28 Minutes 36 Secs. 
6.
L'arlésienne: Suite no 1 by Georges Bizet
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1872; France 
Date of Recording: 09/21/1956 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 19 Minutes 7 Secs. 
7.
L'arlésienne: Suite no 2 by Georges Bizet
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 
Date of Recording: 09/21/1956 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 17 Minutes 6 Secs. 
8.
Faust: Ballet Music by Charles Gounod
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; France 
Date of Recording: 1957 
Venue:  Salle Wagram, Paris, France 
Length: 16 Minutes 32 Secs. 
9.
Le roi s'amuse by Léo Delibes
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1882; France 
Date of Recording: 05/1958 
Venue:  Salle Wagram, Paris, France 
Length: 14 Minutes 19 Secs. 
10.
Cendrillon: Orchestral Suite - Waltz by Jules Massenet
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1899; France 
Date of Recording: 10/09/1957 
Venue:  Salle Wagram, Paris, France 
Length: 5 Minutes 29 Secs. 
11.
Samson et Dalila, Op. 47: Bacchanale by Camille Saint-Saëns
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Written: 1877 
Date of Recording: 11/23/1959 
Venue:  Kingsway Hall, London, England 
Length: 7 Minutes 22 Secs. 
12.
La damnation de Faust, Op. 24: Ballet of the Sylphs by Hector Berlioz
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845-1846; France 
Date of Recording: 03/25/1957 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio no 1, London, UK 
Length: 2 Minutes 59 Secs. 
13.
La damnation de Faust, Op. 24: Menuet des follets by Hector Berlioz
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845-1846; France 
Date of Recording: 03/25/1957 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio no 1, London, UK 
Length: 5 Minutes 39 Secs. 
14.
Samson et Dalila, Op. 47: Danse de Pretresses de Dagon by Camille Saint-Saëns
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877; France 
Date of Recording: 10/20/1958 
Venue:  Kingsway Hall, London, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 26 Secs. 
15.
Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1892-1894; France 
Date of Recording: 03/1957 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio no 1, London, UK 
Length: 10 Minutes 27 Secs. 
16.
L'enfant prodigue: Cortège et Air de danse by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1884/1908; France 
Date of Recording: 1959 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio no 1, London, UK 
Length: 4 Minutes 16 Secs. 
17.
Carmen: Suite no 1 by Georges Bizet
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1875; France 
Venue:  Wagram Hall, Paris, France 
Length: 10 Minutes 43 Secs. 
18.
Gwendoline: Overture by Emmanuel Chabrier
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885; France 
Date of Recording: 11/09/1957 
Venue:  Wagram Hall, Paris, France 
Length: 9 Minutes 24 Secs. 
19.
Dolly, Op. 56 by Gabriel Fauré
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894-1897; France 
Venue:  Wagram Hall, Paris, France 
Length: 17 Minutes 37 Secs. 
20.
Le rouet d'Omphale, Op. 31 by Camille Saint-Saëns
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1872; France 
Date of Recording: 03/25/1957 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No.1, London, Engl 
Length: 9 Minutes 22 Secs. 
21.
Joyeuse marche "Marche française" by Emmanuel Chabrier
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: 03/23/1957 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No.1, London, Engl 
Length: 3 Minutes 44 Secs. 
22.
España by Emmanuel Chabrier
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883; France 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No.1, London, Engl 
Length: 6 Minutes 5 Secs. 
23.
Patrie Overture, Op. 19 by Georges Bizet
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873; France 
Date of Recording: 10/12/1939 
Venue:  Walthamstow Assembly Hall, London, Engla 
Length: 12 Minutes 33 Secs. 
24.
Roma: 4th movement, Allegro vivacissimo "Carnaval" by Georges Bizet
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1860-1868; France 
Date of Recording: 10/09/1957 
Venue:  Wagram Hall, Paris, France 
Length: 7 Minutes 14 Secs. 
25.
Symphony in D minor, M 48 by César Franck
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886-1888; France 
Date of Recording: 1959 
Venue:  Paris, France 
26.
Symphony in G minor by Edouard Lalo
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885-1886; France 
Date of Recording: 1959 
Venue:  Paris, France 
27.
Pavane, Op. 50 by Gabriel Fauré
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887; France 
Date of Recording: 1959 
Venue:  Paris, France 
28.
Le carnaval romain Overture, Op. 9 by Hector Berlioz
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843-1844; France 
29.
Le roi Lear Overture, Op. 4 by Hector Berlioz
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; France 
30.
La Vierge: Dernier sommeil de la Vierge by Jules Massenet
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880; France 
31.
Zémire et Azor: Ballet Suite by André Modeste Grétry
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1771; France 
32.
Zino-Zina: Gavotte by Paul Vidal
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1908; France 
33.
Roméo et Juliette: Le sommeil de Juliette by Charles Gounod
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867; France 

Sound Samples

Symphonie fantastique, Op.14 (2003 Digital Remaster): I. Rêveries - Passions (Largo-Allegro agitato e appassionato assai)
Symphonie fantastique, Op.14 (2003 Digital Remaster): II. Un bal (Allegro non troppo)
Symphonie fantastique, Op.14 (2003 Digital Remaster): III. Scène aux champs (Adagio)
Symphonie fantastique, Op.14 (2003 Digital Remaster): IV. Marche au supplice (Allegretto non troppo)
Symphonie fantastique, Op.14 (2003 Digital Remaster): V. Songe d'une nuit du Sabbat (Larghetto-Allegro)
Le Corsaire, Op.21 (2003 Digital Remaster)
Marche troyenne, 'Trojan March' (Les Troyens, Act I) (2003 Digital Remaster)
Les Troyens (2003 Digital Remaster): La chasse royale et l'orage (Act IV)
Symphony in C (2000 Digital Remaster): Allegro vivo
Symphony in C (2000 Digital Remaster): Adagio
Symphony in C (2000 Digital Remaster): Allegro vivace & Trio
Symphony in C (2000 Digital Remaster): Allegro vivace
L'Arlésienne - Incidental Music, Suite No.1 (2000 Digital Remaster): Prélude
L'Arlésienne - Incidental Music, Suite No.1 (2000 Digital Remaster): Menuet
L'Arlésienne - Incidental Music, Suite No.1 (2000 Digital Remaster): Adagietto
L'Arlésienne - Incidental Music, Suite No.1 (2000 Digital Remaster): Carillon
L'Arlésienne - Suite No.2 (orch. Ernest Guiraud) (2000 Digital Remaster): Pastorale
L'Arlésienne - Suite No.2 (orch. Ernest Guiraud) (2000 Digital Remaster): Intermezzo
L'Arlésienne - Suite No.2 (orch. Ernest Guiraud) (2000 Digital Remaster): Minuet (from 'La jolie fille de Perth')
L'Arlésienne - Suite No.2 (orch. Ernest Guiraud) (2000 Digital Remaster): Farandole

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  10 Customer Reviews )
 Great Recordings February 2, 2013 By L. White (New Westminster, BC) See All My Reviews "These recordings are well done and Sir Thomas has done a great job of interpreting the work of these well known composers!" Report Abuse
 A Wonderful Collection June 14, 2012 By James H. (Vancouver, BC) See All My Reviews "everything on this 6 CD set was pretty well recorded quite some time ago; it is the grouping together of these wonderful composers that creates a wonderful "Genre" collection. the enjoyment from this set will never wear out; great quality by the best of musicians." Report Abuse
 Excellent historical compilation  April 20, 2012 By CHARLES MULVILLE (108 MILE RANCH, BC) See All My Reviews "If my ears like the sound of the music, then I like it also!!! Thomas Beecham was a well respected conductor and apart from this compilation, recorded the compositions of Delius, so it is nice to see that he also had a great love for French music. I purchased this collection having heard the sound bites on your presentation and so far have played discs 5 & 6.I think that,considering the age of the original music(1947-1959),the engineers have re-mastered the music very well and so technically they compete well with today's standards. I think EMI are to be congratulated not only for the music itself, but also for the way they have presented the collection. This is very much a collector's item and the cost is well worth the enjoyment of the collection in whole. Well Done!!" Report Abuse
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