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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 
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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Jean Martinon recorded a dazzling Bacchus et Ariane Suite No. 2 with the Chicago Symphony for RCA, a performance never issued on CD (save for about ten seconds in Japan, a friendly reader reminded me), but which is due from RCA in March 2015 in a 10-CD Martinon/Chicago box. The ORTF isn’t the Chicago Symphony, but it certainly plays well enough for Martinon’s powerfully cogent and persuasive way with the score to make its full effect (Note: Suites 1 & 2 take in the complete ballet). A pupil of Roussel, Martinon understands this music as well as anyone ever has. The performance is excellent and works its way up to a thrilling conclusion.

However, the real treat is Aeneas, one of Roussel’s last pieces–as sinewy and
Read more exhilarating a score as he ever penned. The ballet tells the story of the trials and tribulation of Aeneas following the Trojan War, including his love affair with Dido and concluding triumphantly with the founding of Rome. The acerbic harmonic idiom and the fact that Roussel didn’t live to produce a suite probably accounts for the work’s relative lack of exposure, but it’s a terrific piece nonetheless, make no mistake.

Martinon accordingly plays the work whole and includes the brief choral parts, though Erato stupidly puts the entire thing on one track (and of course declines to print the texts in the booklet). This is all the more annoying because as originally reissued on CD in Japan the piece had 13 separate tracks–but I suppose beggars can’t be choosers. This is Martinon in his prime, well recorded, in music he conducted as well as anyone ever has–and for most listeners that should be recommendation enough.

This performance is (or was) also available in a twofer coupled with other Roussel, including Martinon’s version of The Spider’s Feast and Dutoit’s less than thrilling Bacchus et Ariane (inexcusable when you have Martinon’s ready to hand). Never mind. However you find it, do try.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
reviewing these performances issued as Erato 24240 Read less

Works on This Recording

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

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 GRACIOUS HOSTESS---OR RAVENOUS KILLER? December 6, 2014 By Zita Carno (Tampa, FL) See All My Reviews "OR BOTH? I was just listening to, and enjoying, the ballet "The Spider's Feast" on my favorite Classical Masterpieces channel, and I was speculating. It's a ballet, about insect life in a garden, and here we have a spider---we'll call her Madame L'araignee---in the garden, spinning a web in the midst of all the goings-on. Is she setting the table, so to speak, for a banquet? Is she going to be the gracious hostess, inviting all to partake? Or is she setting a trap for the unwary, to be the feast itself? Will she be the ravenous killer, preparing to devour all present? Or is she the one who will turn into the other? I was thinking about this, and suddenly I remembered an episode of NCIS called The Spider And The Fly---and I thought about Leroy Jethro Gibbs: and it hit me, that all you have to do is change two letters, and the spider becomes the sniper, which was what Mr. Gibbs was. And the fly---the villainess of the piece---fell into the trap. Anyway, I invite all to figure out---I'll put it in French---le mystere de Madame L'araignee. Ballet or murder mystery, enjoy. And enjoy Jean Martinon's expert interpretation." Report Abuse
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