Classical The best music site on the web there is where you can read about and listen to blues, jazz, classical music and much more. This is your ultimate music resource. Tons of albums can be found within. Sat, 15 Jun 2024 23:34:41 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Chabrier – Espana & others Roussel – Suite in F (1991) Chabrier – Espana & others Roussel – Suite in F (1991)

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1. Chabrier: España - Rhapsody for Orchestra		6:40
2. Chabrier: Suite pastorale - 1. Idylle		4:04
3. Chabrier: Suite pastorale - 2. Danse villageoise		4:20
4. Chabrier: Suite pastorale - 3. Sous-bois		2:57
5. Chabrier: Suite pastorale - 4. Scherzo-Valse		4:39	
6. Chabrier: Le roi malgré lui - Fête polonaise		7:36	
7. Chabrier: Gwendoline - Overture		8:43	
8. Chabrier: Le roi malgré lui - Danse slave		5:12
9. Chabrier: Joyeuse marche		3:40	
10. Chabrier: Bourreé fantasque		6:15
11. Roussel: Suite in F, Op.33 - 1. Prelude		4:02
12. Roussel: Suite in F, Op.33 - 2. Sarabande		4:51	
13. Roussel: Suite in F, Op.33 - 3. Gigue		4:20

Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Paul Paray – conductor


This well-known and well-loved collection of Chabrier favourites makes a welcome return to the catalogue in remastered SACD form. As is to be expected from this source, the sound is quite spectacular for the 1950s; comparable to the wonders our own John Culshaw and Walter Legge were achieving. Tape hiss appears quite prominent at first, until one realises that the recordings are cut at a very high level, so when the music starts it emerges from the speakers with a quite phenomenal degree of immediacy. Brass rings out thrillingly, bass drums shake the floorboards and the whole aural ‘picture’ is one of full-blooded realism and impact.

As for the performances, I know of no other Chabrier collection that is carried off with more panache and life-affirming spontaneity. Although comparisons are often odious, I did have to hand a very serviceable disc from Armin Jordan and the French National Orchestra on Erato which has many of the same items and has served me well. Playing them side by side was rather cruel, for in just about every case Paray’s rhythmic grip and freewheeling exuberance made the French set seem mundane, workaday and even plain boring, even in this music. It’s not just about tempos (though in every case Paray has more urgency), rather about getting out of your orchestra playing of character, charisma and the right degree of wit and gusto. Thus the most famous item, the ubiquitous España, gets what must be the most sparkling and good-humoured performance ever committed to disc, Beecham notwithstanding. The lovely Suite pastorale is beautifully shaped, its disarming simplicity played straight and for the best, although the swift, almost aggressive, pace of the ‘Sous bois’ third movement may pull some listeners up short. The gloriously Wagnerian overture to ‘Gwendoline’ gets playing of great swagger and theatricality, and a truly uproarious performance of Bourée fantasque finishes the Chabrier items in fitting fashion.

The Roussel Suite in F is more than just a filler, it’s a real find. Anyone who responds to this composer’s particularly vital, bustling brand of neo-classicism (such as the Third and Fourth Symphonies) will love this. A Koussevitzky commission, it dates from 1926 and is in perfectly balanced three-movement form. It opens with a driving, propulsive Prelude (marvel at the unanimity of the Detroit strings), which gives way to a lovely Sarabande, where the chromatic harmonies and angular melodic lines have a Prokofiev-like intensity. The closing Gigue reverts back to the toccata-style drive of the opening, and makes for a memorable 13 minutes, especially in a performance of such brilliance and virtuosity. ---Tony Haywood,

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]]> (bluesever) Chabrier Emmanuel Wed, 04 Feb 2015 23:12:04 +0000
Emmanuel Chabrier - Orchestral Works (2013) Emmanuel Chabrier - Orchestral Works (2013)

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1 Joyeuse marche (c. 1888) 3:40
2 Overture to 'Gwendoline' (1879-85) 9:23
3 Habanera (c. 1885) 4:11 
4 Espana (1883) 6:12
5 Lamento (1874) 7:44
6 Bourree fantasque (1897) 6:44

Suite pastorale (c. 1888) 19:05
7 I. Idylle
8 II. Danse villageoise
9 III. Sous-bois
10 IV. Scherzo-valse

Three movements from 'L'Etoile' (1877) 8:11
11 I. Overture
12 II. Act, Entr'acte
13 III. Act,  Entr'acte

Two movements from 'Le Roi malgre lui' (1884-87) 12:28 
14 I. Fete polonaise
15 II. Danse slave

Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
Neeme Järvi - conductor


This album of popular works by Emmanuel Chabrier marks the beginning of a new series of French repertoire, performed by the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande under its newly appointed Artistic Director, Neeme Järvi.

After three attempts at comic opera, Chabrier finally achieved success in 1877 with L’Étoile, the plotline of which is set in the court of the somewhat emotionally unstable King Ouf. A couple of years previously, Chabrier had written a short Lamento for orchestra, a work which would not perhaps be considered revolutionary by today’s audiences, but which caused the committee of the Société nationale de musique to hum and haw over it for eighteen long months before finally letting it loose on the Parisian public in 1878.

From July to December 1882, Chabrier took his family on an extended holiday to Spain, during which he kept himself busy by noting down the Spanish folk tunes and dance rhythms he encountered on his way. He put many of them into his orchestral masterpiece España, a work overwhelming in its orchestral colour, which is such a characteristic feature of this composer. The impressions of his Spanish holiday can also be heard in the Habanera.

For six years Chabrier worked on Gwendoline, a two-act dramatic opera on a libretto by Catulle Mendès, set in Britain in what he called ‘barbarous times’. Inspired by Wagner and Berlioz, the Overture sets the scene perfectly for a drama of violence, treachery, and passion. A month after Gwendoline was premiered in Brussels in April 1886 the Opéra-Comique in Paris agreed to put on Chabrier’s next opera, Le Roi malgré lui, a melting pot of complex political intrigue, cheerful arias, and vivacious dances.

In 1880 Chabrier had written his Dix Pièces pittoresques for piano, and over the next few years he orchestrated four of them to form the Suite pastorale, with its gently pulsing ‘Idylle’ movement (which inspired Poulenc to become a composer), the raucous ‘Danse villageoise’, the sultry ‘Sous-bois’, and last but not least the sunny, high-spirited ‘Scherzo-valse’.

Also on this release is the Joyeuse marche, one of Chabrier’s most popular works, and the Bourrée fantasque, based on a dance from the Auvergne region in France where the composer had spent his childhood.


Neeme Järvi's discography is very diverse and seemingly endless. He has been particularly successful - I would say - in many of the less familiar areas of the repertoire. One seldom knows whether it is the CD company or the conductor who has been the driving force behind the selected repertoire. In either case it is good to find Järvi recording music by Chabrier, whose orchestral output may well be a little greater than many people imagine. There are gems here, so I should add that Chabrier's orchestral music is also of higher quality than is generally acknowledged. Certainly most of it is imbued with sunshine and joie de vivre.

We start with the most substantial piece - the Suite pastorale. Järvi has a good instinct for this delightful music, the composer's own orchestration of four of his marvellous Dix Pièces pittoresques for piano. When Poulenc inserted a coin into a machine and first heard the opening Idylle (in its piano version) he was captivated. Many years later he wrote “Even today it makes me tremble with emotion to think of the resultant miracle; a whole universe of harmony suddenly opened up before me, and my music has never forgotten that first kiss.” For me also this wonderful piece never loses its innocent freshness and fascination. Järvi handles Idylle sensitively, with close attention to dynamics, but his tempo feelsjust a tiny bit hurried. Chabrier marks Allegretto crotchet = 120 for the piano original but Andantino, poco con moto for this orchestration. Sous bois (crotchet = 60 in the piano version, merely Andantino in the suite) also is slightly impatient and short on languor but, once one has become used to the tempo it clear that it is nicely handled. The two faster movements are fine, very well played and again show Järvi's excellent attention to dynamics and telling detail as well as his buoyancy of rhythm. Putting reservations aside, I believe he has an affinity with this music.

Järvi gives a magnificent performance of the Bourrée fantasque, another piece originally composed for piano and a masterpiece with so many harmonic anticipations of music to come, French or otherwise. As Roger Nichols writes in his informative and illuminating notes, “The bourrée was a dance especially popular in the Auvergne (Chabrier's native region), where it was generally performed in clogs.” Järvi captures this rugged stamping effect and observes all markings and nuances - the numerous accents and sforzandos especially - while relishing the eccentricity and changes of mood. This is among the finest recordings I have heard, though the even more robust Paul Paray and the Detroit Symphony should not be missed (review). Both here and in the splendid Joyeuse marche the warm but over-reverberant acoustic of Geneva's Victoria Hall rather blunts the sharp edge of Chabrier's rhythms. Nonetheless the march receives another fine performance, as does the more serious, Wagner-influenced Gwendoline Overture - though this isnot as swashbuckling as Beecham (EMI, BBC, Magdalen) or as thrilling as Paray.

The Habanera shows yet another different aspect of Chabrier and here Järvi is delightfully characterful and rhythmically buoyant. España is notable for some superb trombone playing - also evident in Gwendoline and theBourrée fantasque - but Järvi's reading is good rather than exceptional. Here his attention to accents sometimes sounds laboured rather than natural, giving the melodic line a bumpy ride. In Lamento, the earliest and least familiar item on the CD, Järvi compares rather unfavourably with Hervé Niquet (Naxos 8.554248) who finds more depth and passion and shows more belief in this neglected piece. The disc ends with operatic music of a very different kind fromGwendoline, and with these extracts we revisit the composer's more characteristic warm-heartedness and sense of fun. Among the greatest admirers of L'Étoile - and Chabrier's music in general - was Stravinsky, a man of exacting taste who incidentally was subtly influenced by Chabrier. Of the three L'Étoile extracts the overture is short on sparkle, while the Fête polonaise from Le Roi malgré lui (a comic opera greatly admired by Ravel) is spirited but a bit rushed. The final track, the Danse slave, shows Järvi at his most engaged.

This disc is very good in parts but generally a little too variable to deserve an outright welcome. ---Philip Borg-Wheeler,

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]]> (bluesever) Chabrier Emmanuel Wed, 24 Oct 2018 13:41:17 +0000
Emmanuel Chabrier ‎– L'Etoile (1984/2006) Emmanuel Chabrier ‎– L'Etoile (1984/2006)

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1-1 	Ouverture 	
1-2 	Méfions - Nous 	
1-3 	Ouf Ouf C'est Moi , Le Roi 	
1-4 	Du Monde 	
1-5 	Que Diable 	
1-6 	Nous Voyageons Incognito 	
1-7 	Aussistôt Que L'aurore 	
1-8 	Ah La La Quel Voyage 	
1-9 	Nous Voyagons Incognito 	
1-10 	O Petit Étol 	
1-11 	Ah Mon Dieu 	
1-12 	Il Faut Le Chatouiller 	
1-13 	Mon Dieu ! Mais Au Fait , J'y Pense 	
1-14 	Ce N'est Qu'une Histoire De Rir 	
1-15 	Ciel ! Qu'ai Je Vous 	
1-16 	Qui Ètes-Vous 	
1-17 	Je Suis Lazuli 	
1-18 	Je Suis Furieux 	
1-19 	Jeune Homme 	
1-20 	Ce Fauteuil , Qui N'a L'air De Rien 	
1-21 	Arrêtez Arrêtez 	
1-22 	Entr' Acte 	
1-23 	Ah! Le Charmant Garcon 	
1-24 	Oh! Mais Elles Sont Parties 	
1-25 	Quand On Aime , Est - Il Utile 	

2-1 	Et Puis S'il N'est Pas Content 	
2-2 	Quand On Veut Ranimer Sa Belle 	
2-3 	C'est Parfait 	
2-4 	Moi , Je N'ai Pas Une Âme Ingrate 	
2-5 	Maintenant Il Faut Partir Vite 	
2-6 	Ah Ah Ah 	
2-7 	Nous Allons Donc Voir 	
2-8 	La Princesse 	
2-9 	Un Coup De Feu 	
2-10 	Tous Deux Assis Dans Le Bateau 	
2-11 	Ma Foi ! Ca Nous Est Bien Égal 	
2-12 	C'est Un Malheur 	
2-13 	Entr' Acte 	
2-14 	Une Heure 	
1-15 	Enfin , Je Me Sens Mieux 	
2-16 	Je Viens De Prendre Un Petit Verre 	
2-17 	Je Me Sens , Hélas , Tout Chose 	
2-18 	Ah 	
2-19 	Un Amoureux , Princesse 	
2-20 	Vivant ! Il Est Vivant 	
2-21 	Ainsi Que La Rose Nouvelle 	
2-22 	Assez De Musique 	
2-23 	Voici Venir Monsieur Le Maire 	
2-24 	Princesse 	
2-25 	Musique De Scéne 	
2-26 	Eh Bien 	
2-27 	Nous Voici , Messieurs , À La Fin

Baritone [Hérisson de Porc-Epic] – François Le Roux
Baritone [Zalzal] – René Schirrer
Bass [Sirocco] – Gabriel Bacquier 
Mezzo-soprano [Aloes] – Magali Damonte 
Soprano [Adza] – Andrée Didier
Soprano [Asphodele] – Isabelle Manent
Soprano [Koukouli] – Valérie Marestin
Soprano [La Princesse Laoula] – Ghyslaine Raphanel
Soprano [Lazuli] – Colette Alliot-Lugaz
Soprano [Oasis] – Elizabeth Vidal
Soprano [Youca] – Isabelle Eschenbrenner
Soprano [Zinnia] – Brigitte Desnoues
Tenor [Le Roi Ouf 1er] – Georges Gautierfrench
Tenor [Patacha] – Michel Fockenoy
Tenor [Tapioca] – Antoine David
Voice Actor [La Chef de la Police], Directed By [Mise en scene] – Alain Maratrat

Chorus – Chœurs De L'Opéra De Lyon
Chorus Master – Henri Farge 
Orchestre De L'Opéra De Lyon
John Eliot Gardiner - conductor


A zany, fantastical comedy – sometimes macabre, frequently absurd, but also touched by romance – Emmanuel Chabrier’s L’Étoile is filled with delicious music. In this classic recording based on performances at the Opéra de Lyon, John Eliot Gardiner conducts a superb all-French cast.


This is a welcome reissue of the 1984 Opéra de Lyon production—the superb and still available DVD presentation with the same forces (substituting Jules Bastin for Gabriel Bacquier) was made two years later (Image 9302). Either way, you can’t lose, though if you prefer the CD format you’re best advised to grab this now. “The music is so strongly defined, alert and lively,” Poulenc noted, “that there is not a dull moment in the whole three acts, in spite of the mediocre text . . .”, which is replaced here by a detailed cued synopsis. EMI does not even direct you for it to their Web site, though the libretto, with translation, was included with the LP issue. One may well enjoy its farcical zaniness, populated nonetheless—unique, until then, with Chabrier—not by the usual comique caricatures but by characters we come to know as well as those in Mozart’s operas. Poulenc continues, “Quite apart from its intrinsic qualities, L’étoile is the source of subsequent French operetta, particularly that of Messager. For the first time, Chabrier introduced into opéra bouffe a careful attention to harmony and orchestration, which had previously been missing, except in Offenbach and Lecocq. I myself thought much about L’étoile while I was writing Les mamelles de Tirésias .” Can there be higher praise? The upshot is that the music, whether or not you attend closely to the plot, is tender, racy, scintillant, joyous, and self-commending. Perhaps this will prompt someone to reissue Erato’s exemplary Dutoit go at Le roi malgré lui , nor would more Messager and Lecocq be amiss.

EMI’s pasteboard box encloses the discs in paper sleeves and a booklet graced with production photos, the synopsis, and brief but informed notes by Roger Nichols. Sound captures stage depth, near or far, in crisp detail. Enthusiastically recommended. ---FANFARE: Adrian Corleonis,

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]]> (bluesever) Chabrier Emmanuel Sat, 05 Oct 2019 14:38:34 +0000
Emmanuel Chabrier – Le Roy Malgre Lui (2005) Emmanuel Chabrier – Le Roy Malgre Lui (2005)

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1. Act I
2. Act II
3. Act III

Minka - Magali Léger (s)
Le duc de Fritelli - Laurent Naouri (br)
Henri de Valois - Nicolas Rivenq (br)
Le comte de Nangis - Yann Beuron (t)
Laski - Franck Leguérinel (br)
Alexina - Maryline Fallot (s)
Le marquis de Villequier - Bertrand Chuberre (bs-br)
Un soldat - Jacques Gomez (bs)
Basile/Liancourt - Didier Roussel (t)
Elbeuf - Brian Bruce (t)
Maugiron - Paolo Stuppenengo (br)
Le comte de Caylus - Charles Saillofest (br)
Comédiens - Bruno Andrieux, Olivier Sferlazza, Jean-Benoît Terral

Orchestre et Chœurs de l'Opéra de Lyon
Evelino Pido – conductor

Opéra National de Lyon 04.III.2005
Broadcast Radio 4 (NL) 07.V.2005


"I would rather have written Le Roi malgré lui than the Ring of the Nibelungen." So wrote Maurice Ravel of Emmanuel Chabrier's comic opera Le Roi malgré lui, or The Reluctant King. Chabrier's previous opera, Gwendoline (1885), to that time his most ambitious score, had been premiered in Brussels, Belgium, on April 10, 1886. It was very successful, but after just two performances the theater went bankrupt. Disappointed but not disillusioned, Chabrier launched straight into the writing of a new comic opera. Writers Emile de Najac and Paul Burani were given the job of turning Ancelot's 50-year-old play Le Roi malgré lui into a libretto. The result, however, was a confusing mess, so Chabrier had his poet friend Jean Richepin rewrite it. Richepin got well into the job but eventually gave up, disgusted, and Chabrier himself had to complete the revision. The music, however, proceeded with much less strain, and Chabrier completed it in early 1887 after just nine months of work, producing a lively and melodic score as well as a diverse one -- patter song, love music, a bit of heavy Wagnerian drama (reflecting Chabrier's love of the music of the German master), and energetic dances are all part of the mix.

The opera is based, loosely, on historical figures and events. After the death of King Sigismund of Poland in 1572, the country became an elective monarchy and chose as its new king the Frenchman Henri of Valois, Duke of Anjou. Henri didn't really want to leave France, however, and Chabrier's opera deals with Henri's machinations to avoid becoming Poland's king. The opera ends with Henri's decision to become King of Poland after all; the historical Henri reigns there until 1574, at which point he returns to France to become its King on the death of his brother, King Charles IX.

Le Roi malgré lui was premiered by the Opéra-Comique of Paris on May 18, 1887. Despite the complexities of the plot, Chabrier's music won the day and the performance was very well received, with several numbers encored (although the librettists were booed). But, shades of Gwendoline, the theatre burnt down after just three performances. Six months later the opera was taken up again at the Théâtre Lyrique, Place du Châtelet, and thanks to the support of the noted Wagnerian conductor Felix Mottl, the opera was also performed several times in Germany. But the work seemed to lose favor with the public, to a large extent due to the poor libretto (which was revised substantially for revivals in 1888 and 1929), and it has seldom been performed since that 1929 revival. Some excerpts from the opera, notably the Fête polonaise from the beginning of Act II, have taken on their own life in the concert hall, ensuring that the work Chabrier once referred to as a "comic opera with elaborate undies" has not disappeared completely from view. --- Chris Morrison, Rovi


Henri de Valois, le futur Henri III, est bien loin de la France où règne son frère aîné. Pour l’heure, il a été élu roi de Pologne, par la volonté de sa mère, et à son grand regret. Car sa nouvelle patrie l’ennuie et lui fait regretter une aventure galante vécue naguère à Venise. Pour se distraire, le roi va échanger habit et identité avec l’un des de ses chevaliers, et prendre part à une conspiration contre… lui-même. Quiproquos et coups de théâtre se succèdent jusqu’à un dénouement, évidemment heureux, qui voit Henri de Valois, retrouver avec plaisir son trône et ses sujets polonais. Emmanuel Chabrier, le plus truculent des grands compositeurs français, a réussi là une partition éblouissante. L’orchestre éclabousse de mille couleurs cette musique qui doit un peu à Berlioz, un peu à Rossini et un peu au « grand » opéra ici copieusement parodié, mais garde, avant tout, la saveur inimitable et reconnaissable entre toutes des chefs-d’œuvre d’un compositeur trop rarement à l’honneur. Pour cette ouvrage débordant d’entrain, mais aussi de tendresse, l’Opéra National de Lyon réunit un tandem inédit formé par le chef d’orchestre Evelino Pidò et le metteur en scène Laurent Pelly. ---

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]]> (bluesever) Chabrier Emmanuel Sat, 07 Jun 2014 16:11:44 +0000