Notes and Editorial Reviews
Timpani has cornered the market in revivals of Gallic musical
reputations. Their focus has been on the 20th century generation
of French composers who lived in the shadow of Ravel and Debussy.
In addition they are kind to benighted Anglophones by providing
translations of French texts and essays. This is especially
valuable here. The essay for this Le Flem disc is by Michel
Fleury. With Harry Halbreich he stands as the pathfinder and
authority equivalent in France of Lewis Foreman in the UK.
The Breton Celtic connection unites the likes of Cras, Ropartz
and Le Flem. The music is transparently orchestrated and recorded.
Piquantly diaphanous scoring lights up this silhouette-play
based on the thirteenth century love story Aucassin et Nicolette.
Its world while hardly a slavish facsimile owes something
to Ravel. The score glimmers and glows and even when the voices
are centre-stage the orchestral detail is communicated. Part
I ends with the sort of orchestral chant favoured by Bax in
his Fifth Symphony. Much play is made of the harp and of harp-like
effects from the sparkling piano. This is notably encountered
in the Prologue and in the Part III introduction where the use
of the piano recalls its role in the glittering Winter Legends
by Arnold Bax. In Part III there is some truly ravishing singing
of the most lissom lyrical ideas – not Puccini but superbly
weighted, timed and emotionally well judged. Its inspired combination
of plot content and melody may also be due to the fact that
it was written shortly after Le Flem had married: young love.
By coincidence this disc was issued in the same month as Dutton’s
recording of Holbrooke’s own 1935 Anton Dolin ballet music for
Aucassin et Nicolette.
-- Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International Read less
Works on This Recording
Aucassin et Nicolette by Paul Le Flem
Stanislas De Barbeyrac (Tenor),
Delphine Haidan (Mezzo Soprano),
Mélanie Boisvert (Soprano),
Armand Arapian (Baritone),
Katia Velletaz (Soprano)
Orchestre des Pays de Savoie,
Les Solistes de Lyon-Bernard Tétu
Period: 20th Century
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