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Berlioz – La Damnation de Faust - Ozawa (1974)

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Berlioz – La Damnation de Faust - Ozawa (1974)

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CD1
1 Part 1. Scene 1. Introduction. Le vieil hiver a fait place au printemps  5:35
2 Part 1. Scene 2. Ronde des Paysans. Les bergers quittent leurs troupeaux 4:11
3 Part 1. Scene 3. Mais d'un éclat guerrier les campagnes se parent. Marche Hongroise 	4:31 	
4 Part 2. Scene 4. Sans regrets j'ai quitté les riantes campagnes 4:03
5 Part 2. Scene 4. Chant de la Fête de Pâques. Christ vient de ressusciter! 6:29
6 Part 2. Scene 5. Ô pure émotion! Enfant du saint parvis! 2:14
7 Scene 6. Choeur des Buveurs  2:46
8 Scene 6. Chanson de Brander	2:13
9 Scene 6. Fugue sur le Theme de la Chanson de Brander 2:59
10 Scene 6. Chanson de Méphistopheles 3:40
11 Scene 7. Air de Méphistopheles 2:38
12 Scene 7. Choeur des Gnomes et De Sylphes 6:06
13 Ballet de Sylphes 3:22
14 Scene 8. Finale. Choeur de Soldats. Chanson d'Etudiants  4:36

CD2
1 Third Part. Tambours et trompettes sonnant la retraite 1:11
2 Scene 9. Air de Faust. Scene 10 5:30
3 Scene 11. Que l'air est étouffant! 2:57
4 Scene 11. Le Roi de Thulé 4:28
5 Scene 12. Evocation	1:50
6 Scene 12. Menuet des Feux Follets 6:06
7 Scene 12. Sérénade de Méphistopheles 2:25
8 Part 3. Scene 13. Duo. Grand Dieu! 5:04
9 Part 3. Scene 14. Trio et Chœur. Allons, il est trop tard! 5:05
10 Part 4. Scene 15. Romance. D'amour l'ardente flame 8:38
11 Part 4. Scene 15. Au son des trompettes 2:14
12 Part 4. Scene 16. Invocation à la Nature. Nature immense, impénétrable et fière 4:03
13 Part 4. Scene 17. Récitatif et Chasse. A la voûte azure 3:33
14 Part 4. Scene 18. La Course à l'Abîme. Dans mon cœur retentit sa voix 3:31
15 Part 4. Scene 19. Pandaemonioum. Has! Irimirukarabrao! Has! / Epilogue sur la Terre.
 Alors, l'Enfer 5:01
16 Part 4. Scene 20. Dans le Ciel. Laus! Hosanna! / Apothéose de Marguerite.
 Remonte au ciel, âme naïv 4:52

Faust - Stuart Burrows
Méphistophélès - Donald McIntyre
Marguerite - Edith Mathis
Brander - Thomas Paul

Tanglewood Festival Choir
Boston Boys' Choir
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Seiji Ozawa – conductor

Recorded: Boston, Symphony Hall, 10/1973

 

October, 1973: Ozawa was 38, freshly minted in his first season with the BSO, when this Damnation of Faust was recorded. No doubt it was a prestigious release, because after decades with RCA, the orchestra had decided to make a fresh start with DG, where they would be the label's flagship American orchestra. Looking back, this was something like a high point in optimism for the pairing of the BSO and Ozawa. He would all too quickly become a more uninteresting, at times uninspired, conductor. His great failing was lack of impact, which he tried to compensate for with rather pointless refinement, even in Mahler and Berlioz, where it's the last think a conductor should be thinking about.

Happily, none of that matters in this recording,which is full of vitality and confidence. The Tanglewood Festival chorus has a full, rich, musical sound -- at long last a professional chorus that was worthy of a great orchestra. As the lead reviewer points out, Stuart Burrows sings resplendently, without the slightest fear of the high-flying range of his solos. He's not particularly French, but Faust has long been an international work. Too bad that Donald McIntyre's Mephisto so thoroughly lacks charisma, either for evil or wittiness. He bludgeons the role dramatically, with the affliction of bad French, but there's no denying that he's in excellent (and very loud) voice. Edith Mathis is musical and touching, but it wasn't the best idea to ask a soprano to fill out a role best sung by a mezzo with a high extension like Janet Baker or von Otter.

Symphony Hall, as great as it is for concerts, tends to be over reverberant for recordings, as it is here. There's a big back-to-front difference between the vocal soloists and the chorus, too. The student chorus seems to bawl their mock amen in Carlsbad Cavern. There is also a tendency on Ozawa's part to turn heavy handed when he should be nimble and alert. DG had already made acclaimed recordings during William Steinberg's brief interregnum after the departure of Erich Leinsdorf, so this one should also have been superior. It has plenty of visceral impact, however, and may play better on systems other than mine. --- Santa Fe Listener, amazon.com

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Last Updated (Sunday, 25 August 2013 17:16)

 

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