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Roussel: Bacchus et Ariane, Le festin de l’araignee / Martinon, ORTF Orchestra

Martinon, Jean
Release Date: 04/27/2009 
Label:  Erato   Catalog #: 66101  
Composer:  Albert Roussel
Conductor:  Jean Martinon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF National Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Low Stock: Currently 3 or fewer in stock. Usually ships in 24 hours, unless stock becomes depleted.  

This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Ballet inspired some of Roussel's most vibrant and imaginative music. Le festin marks the end of his impressionist phase, its translucency contrasting with the clarity of Bacchus... Idiomatic performances throughout.

-- Richard Whitehouse, Gramophone [12/1998]
reviewing these performances reissued as Erato 24240]

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We are always told what a good composer Roussel was, yet his music has never made its mark with audiences in this country: perhaps like Vaughan Williams—or Sibelius, for that matter—in France. The more reason, then, to welcome this ballet score, for I cannot imagine anybody not enjoying it; it is so vital, so brilliant, yet also with such beautiful quieter music. It
Read more demands virtuoso playing and that it gets on this record, vividly recorded. I have fallen for it completely (and I am not a Rousselian) and I do recommend it strongly.

The story doesn't really matter. The score has a few indications of what happens where, and I imagine that the sleeve, which I have not seen, will elaborate. Ariadne, you may remember (a bit of 'one-upmanship', that, for I had to look it up) was married to Theseus who, to put it non-classically, conveniently ditched her when Bacchus came on the scene—though Ariadne, I gather, was more than ready to fly into Bacchus's arms. (A much more virile chap, since he knew all about wine, so I don't blame the girl.)

But, as I said, don't bother about what the scenario is about. It is a classical ballet, not musically but in the sense that there are set dances for everybody: and if the score does say, at one point, "le baiser"; well, the music sounds beautiful, even if you don't know that they are having a (balletic) kiss.

It is thoroughly balletic music—that is, you can imagine the dancing; but it is also symphonically composed and so is satisfying as gramophone listening. The best new ballet music I have heard in years. (New? It was composed around 1930.)

-- Gramophone [3/1971]
reviewing the original LP release of Bacchus et Ariane
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Works on This Recording

1. Bacchus et Ariane, Op. 43 by Albert Roussel
Conductor:  Jean Martinon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF National Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930; France 
2. Le festin de l'araignée, Op. 17 by Albert Roussel
Conductor:  Jean Martinon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF National Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912; France 

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