Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

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Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

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Philippe GAUBERT conducts
Edouard LALO (1823-1892)

Overture; Roi d’Ys
Emmanuel CHABRIER (1841-1894)

Joyeuse Marche
Leo DELIBES (1836-1891)

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937)

Daphnis et Chloe (excpts)
Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924)

Ballade Op 19
Pelleas et Melisande; Sicilienne
Shylock; Nocturne No 5
Paul DUKAS (1865-1935)

L’Apprenti Sorcier
Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869)

La Damnation de Faust – Marche hongroise
Orchestre de La Société des Concerts du Conservatoire
Orchestre des Concerts Straram
Philippe Gaubert
Recorded 1929-38
MALIBRAN CDRG 141 [73.26]

Gaubert was one of the elite Parisian flautists, studying under Taffanel at the Paris Conservatoire. But his ambition led him to conducting and he soon became an innovative exponent of new work by French composers – Fauré, Debussy, Ravel, Dukas and Schmitt among them. He gave the premiere performance of Roussel’s Bacchus and Ariane, Fauré’s Masques et Bergamasques and, most importantly, Enescu’s Oedipe. He also recorded in the Parisian studios for just over a decade, from 1927-1939, and Malibran has collected a representative sample of his consummate musicianship, performances of exclusively French repertoire.

The works chosen show delicacy, luminosity and also drive. You would expect an ex-flautist to bring out the wind writing in the Lalo overture and so he does, allowing one a precious listen to that then fast vanishing school of French wind playing, as well as more generally crisp rhythmic incision, and some stylish string playing. He doesn’t overplay the extracts from Coppelia – there’s good sectional balance and real discipline as well. And no it wasn’t just Monteux of that generation of French conductors who could coax superb textures from this repertoire – Gaubert does it in his Ravel; lightly textured, succulent strings, avian winds. There is some fine, urgent brass playing in Pantomime from Daphnis et Chloe, superb flute playing, expertly judged climaxes too. Danse générale is by turns evocative and fiery.

Marguerite Long shows her special affinities with the French Piano school in her Fauré Ballade and I liked the way Gaubert took the Sicilienne from Pelleas et Melisande – not too languorous, instead fresh and free-flowing. For the fully in-the-round view of Gaubert listen to his saucy Dukas, wittily etched and vividly played and the beautifully veiled sonorities he evokes in the Nocturne from Shylock.

The notes are in French and English - nothing fancy, just to the point. The transfers are in the main well executed and broadly non-interventionist. That said there is some wear on a few of the copies used and some swish on the Ballade – toward the end of one of the sides used: but nothing to concern a prospective purchaser of this delightful disc.

Jonathan Woolf



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