Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Music Webmaster
Len Mullenger:

Jacques IBERT
Bacchanale (1956)
Divertissement (1928)
Overture de Fete (1940)
Symphonie marine (1931)
Escales (1922)

L'Orchestre des Concerts Lamoureux - Yutaka Sado
recorded 29th and 30th April 1996 at La Salle Pleyel, Paris (live and studio recordings)
Naxos 8.554222 [71.20] DDD

Jacque Ibert is perceived by many as the epitome of an early 20th Century French composer - apart from Messrs. Debussy and Ravel - plenty of froth and not much substance. This disc goes some way to dispelling the myth and is one of only a few discs to give us more substance than we usually get. Given that the price is so low, is it worth adding to your collection? With one or two provisos, the answer to this question is an emphatic yes.

Ibert spent most of his creative life writing a large catalogue of works, greater than many would think. He completed in addition to the works on this disc, three concerti, two symphonies, six symphonic poems, ten orchestral suites taken from his numerous stage works. His complete catalogue numbers 121 separate items. Of all these, the Divertissement is the most popular, followed by Escales and Overture de fete. The current catalogue only list sixteen orchestral works, and there are competitive versions of all the current items, but not collected together on one disc.

Most of the competition comes from well known French conductors, such as Fremaux, Martinon and Munch, or adoptive French music specialists such as Dutoit. The present collection is extremely well played and can hold its head up well in this company.

The Lamoureux Orchestra has an illustrious past, and recorded extensively in the 50's and 60's for DGG when it had Igor Markevitch as its chief conductor. Those who cherish recordings made in this era will be a little disappointed with the present disc, for the playing has lost the elan and brightness which it showed in abundance in those days.

Allied to this, the recording, made in the Salle Pleyel, one of Paris's premier recording venues, is somewhat recessed and dim. This reduces some of the sparkle and wit which is so necessary in this music.

For instance, if we compare Sado's performance of the Divertissement with that as recorded by Martinon on Decca, the difference is quite marked. While there is nothing to complain severely about with the Naxos, the Decca recording is a riot, and I am sure, much more what Ibert would have wanted.

Similarly Munch's recording of Escales is more alive although in this case even though the recording is much older (1956) the whole effect is much better.

In summary therefore, this disc is quite clearly for those who want this programme as a one disc collection, and as such it is a very good offering. By buying separately however, you can do better, although it will damage your pocket more.

John Phillips

Reviews from previous months

You can purchase CDs, tickets and musician's accessories and Save around 22% with these retailers : - The UK's Biggest Video Store

Concert and Show tickets


Musicians accessories

Click here to visit

Return to Index