Delights are manifold in this release that is intended to please and does so triumphantly. The 1st Gymnopédie has never been so wonderfully poised and sad, while the Ibert is rousing and high-spirited.
The title of this CD is well chosen. The Dictionnoire Larousse defines the phrase faire la fete as giving oneself up to pleasure and etre a la fete as feeling great satisfaction, and I will certainly go along with these descriptions in writing of my response to an issue which is intended to please and does so triumphantly. I suppose some people might feel that such a succession of bonnes bouches does not make a satisfactory meal, but even leaving aside the fact that I digested it without difficulty, this is a CDRead more from which one is more likely to play a single number or perhaps two, and with the generous 70-minute duration several are substantial enough for this—say The sorcerer's apprentice, Espana and the two Satie Gymnopédies orchestrated by Debussy—while Bizet's Jeux d'enfants and Ibert's Divertissement are of five and six movements respectively. The mention of some of these reminds us too that though the mood is Gallic and high-spirited (the Ibert is about the funniest piece I know and makes a rousing conclusion) this isn't just a CD that lets its hair down, and despite the brilliance of the playing and recording alike it stays the right side of brashness.
Delights are manifold and often subtle—the violins and middle strings are lovely in the Bizet and, to mention two woodwind solos, I've never heard the double bassoon at the seven-minute mark in the Dukas sound so expressive or the oboe in the First Gymnopédie so wonderfully poised and sad. One warning, though, about the Ibert Divertissement—don't play it when your health is at all shaky or you may laugh so much that you do yourself an injury. Strongly recommended to all save ascetics.
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