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Espana/Suite In F/Joyeuse Marc [Hybrid SACD]

P-Detroit Symp Orch Paray Audio CD


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Product Details


1. España, rhapsody for orchestra, also arranged for 2 pianos
2. Suite pastorale, for orchestra: 1. Idylle
3. Suite pastorale, for orchestra: 2. Danse villageoise
4. Suite pastorale, for orchestra: 3. Sous bois
5. Suite pastorale, for orchestra: 4. Scherzo - Valse
6. Le roi malgré lui, opéra-comique in 3 acts: Fête Polonaise
7. Gwendoline, opera in 2 acts: Overture
8. Le roi malgré lui, opéra-comique in 3 acts: Danse Slave
9. Joyeuse marche (Marche française), for orchestra or piano, 4 hands
10. Bourrée fantasque, for piano (also for orchestra)
11. Suite for orchestra in F major, Op. 33: 1. Prelude
12. Suite for orchestra in F major, Op. 33: 2. Sarabande
13. Suite for orchestra in F major, Op. 33: 3. Gigue

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surefire recipe for Gallic confections: Dec 30 2004
By Bob Zeidler - Published on Amazon.com
Take equal measures of (a) the music of a second-tier French composer, (b) the skills of a second-tier orchestra now deep in the American Rust Belt, and (c) the wizardry of the engineering staff of a second-tier American record label. Whip thoroughly into a froth using a thin ivory wand wielded by an expert French chef. Store for four and one-half decades. Carefully remove from storage and serve up on the latest platter, known to aficianados of this musico-culinary art as hybrid SACD.

That, in a nutshell, is what this superb new Mercury Living Presence hybrid SACD is all about. One of the first batch of such releases from Decca/Philips, Paul Paray's recording of the musical bon bons of Chabrier (with a nice filler of music by Roussel) has long been a classic, ever since the works were released on LP (actually, spread over four different LPs) nearly 45 years ago. A little over a decade ago, Mercury had released this same set of works as a conventional CD, remastered by the same person who had been in charge of the original recordings: Wilma Cozart Fine. This identical remastering is present in the "redbook" layer of this new hybrid SACD, but it is the SACD layer that merits special attention (and the 5 stars that I have assigned to the release).

I of course do Chabrier a tongue-in-cheek disservice by referring to him as a second-tier composer. Nonetheless, he had the misfortune of being a contemporary of Bizet, Fauré and Saint-Saëns, a fact that tends to obscure his musical contributions. Moreover, he had only a brief composing career, jammed into the final decade of his life (ending just as Claude Debussy's was beginning). Despite these disadvantages, a good bit of Chabrier's music is a frequent fixture at "pops" concerts, especially two works on this album: "España" and "Joyeuse Marche." Chabrier clearly had a flair for the bubbly in music, and most of his works on this album reflect that flair.

But Chabrier was also - despite his abbreviated career - an accomplished operatic composer (this despite the fact that his operas never did manage to make their way into the central repertoire). Perhaps his masterpiece in this genre is "Gwendoline," if the overture performed here is any indicator. It is a finely-wrought and dramatic work which, with its insistent timpani strokes at the beginning of the work, reminds me somewhat of the youthful Giacomo Puccini's Prelude to Act I of his "Edgar." Perhaps my favorite among Chabrier's works played here.

The album is nicely filled out with Albert Roussel's three-movement "Suite in F," a somewhat more modern work in a neoclassical vein, but still fitting in with the bubbly spirit of the Chabrier works.

My tongue is still further in my cheek with my "second-tier" reference to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Under Paul Paray's leadership, the DSO was in fact an excellent group. (And it has pretty much remained as such, although Paray did have the proper panache and insoucience that these French bon-bons require, probably in greater measure than almost any other conductor in recent memory).

Finally, there was never anything second-tier about the Mercury organization when it came to recording technology. In recent decades, only Telarc - among all of the American labels - seems to have been so successful with recordings of such uniformly high quality. But I think that Mercury easily "led the pack" for analog recording quality before the advent of the CD. One needs no more proof of this fact than simply listening to the SACD layer of this hybrid disc: It is a model of clarity and detail at all dynamic ranges, sounding as if it were produced "the day before yesterday."

Put all these ingredients together, and one does in fact have a "surefire recipe for Gallic confections!"

Bob Zeidler
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paul Paray/Detroit To The Finish Line....... Sept. 28 2005
By Peter Prainito - Published on Amazon.com
If Paul Paray was a race horse, I'd place my bet on him each time to win...and indeed I would. This former conductor of the Detroit Symphony has the "Midas Touch", for everything he touches turns to gold. This SACD of Chabrier and Roussel is no exception, and belongs in everyone's musical library. No matter how many other recordings of these pieces you own...these renditions are essential. If the only Chabrier work you know is "Espana", you are in for a real treat, as all his music is tunefully delightful. The Roussel "Suite in F" is a nice constrast in musical styles. Consistently, each Paray/Detroit recording is a gala event. The pieces contained on this SACD are all very familiar to me, and yet it's as though I'm hearing them through a different set of ears. Conductor Paray brings out orchestral nuances like few other conductors can. Each work is played with energy, finesse, impeccable interpretation, and with extraordinary sound, which is a Mercury Living Presence trademark. Do yourself a favor, anything that Paul Paray and the Detroit Symphony have recorded...BUY!!! I have not lost a race yet. Very Highly recommended.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dazzling Remastering of a great Chabrier Performance July 18 2010
By W. Chiles - Published on Amazon.com
In addition to the other accolades shared previously, I wished to add that the SACD remastering reveals details on the original masters never heard even on the CD remasterings. You hear rosin on the bow details from the strings and an acoustical perspective in the excellent Detroit woodwinds and brass. Moreover, the engineer resolved an issue i've head with Wilma Cozart Fine's Mercury CD remasterings; the treble sounds artificially high likely due to high-frequency hearing loss on her part. The 3 SACD remasterings i've purchased with this label reveal a much more natural, smoother frequency response. As for the talent of Msr. Paray; one need only compare his interpretation of Espana with those of Ormandy and Karajan (both quite good) and hear additional nuances and details of articulation, dynamics, balances and phrasing glossed over by other great conductors. Paray was a master of interpretation and details. He inspired a performance by this second tier orchestra that places it on a par with the great Philadelphia orchestra. There is also a wonderful french style in the playing; the brass articulate precisely and use little vibrato and the strings and woodwinds play with transparency. The acoustic of the high school recording venue is perfect for this music. Get it while you can and check out an SACD player. Oppo sells one for around $200 that plays anything; DVDs, SACD, DVD-Audio.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AWESOME PERFORMANCE & RECORDING! Feb. 9 2008
By Soul Bird - Published on Amazon.com
The playing of these lively and appealing pieces is top notch and the recording is amazing. It's hard to believe that this recording is 51 years old. It's so good that it easily beats new Telarc SACD's which have a misty digital glaze compared to the realistic clarity of this over a half a century old analog recording. This is a must have if you want to show off your system.

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