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Isaac ALBENIZ (1860-1909)

Iberia Ė (i) Evocation (ii) El Puerto (iii) El Corpus en Sevilla (iv) Triana (v) El Albaicïn
Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916)

Goyescas: Intermezzo
Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937)

Alborada del gracioso

Jean-Baptiste LULLY (1632-1687)

Ouverture; Danseries
François COUPERIN (1668-1733)

Troisième Leçon de Ténèbres

(with Hugues Cuénod, Paul Derenne and Chorale Yvonne Gouverné)
Nicolas-Marie DALAYRAC (1753-1809)

Quatuor No 3
Albert ROUSSEL (1869-1937)

Tracks 1-7 Orchestre du Festival de Besançon/Gaston Poulet Rec.1948
Tracks 8-12 Orchestre féminin de Paris/Jane Evrard Rec. 1949 (Lully), 1938 (Couperin), 1943 (Dalayrac) and 1956 (Roussel)
MALIBRAN CDRG 182 [78:58]


This disc features two French conductors, Gaston Poulet (1892-1974) and Jane Evrard (1893-1984) in a varied programme of French and Spanish music recorded between 1938 and 1956.

Poulet initially became a violinist and switched to conducting after meeting Toscanini in the 1920s, becoming director of the Bordeaux Conservatoire. Jane Evrard (born Jeanne Chevalier) also started with the violin and, in 1912, married Gaston Poulet. The marriage did not last and they had separated by the time she took up the baton in 1930, shortly afterwards forming the "Orchestre féminin de Paris". Quite how she became "Jane Evrard" is unclear to me but success rapidly followed and in 1934 they gave the first and second performances of Rousselís Sinfonietta (the latter being an immediate encore!).

The performances documented here all seem worthwhile. In particular, I enjoyed the Albeniz, Dalayrac (a composer best known for comic operas) and Roussel. The recordings come from Manuel Pouletís private collection, except for the Couperin and Dalayrac, which derive from recordings that were presumably issued on 78s, and the Roussel which comes from a radio concert. The sound varies somewhat but requires a fair degree of tolerance throughout, especially in the Couperin which suffers from considerable distortion. The Roussel seems to have been recorded "off air" and is introduced by an announcer. The sound quality here is generally better than elsewhere but another station is intermittently audible in the background and the ending is very abrupt. Generally the gaps between tracks are short; too much so when changes of composer are involved.

Unfortunately the documentation is not ideal and consists only of biographies of the performers. Information on the music is completely lacking including, for example, who made the orchestral arrangements of the Albenizís Iberia and Dalayracís Quartet, and which Lully Overture is being played.

In summary, this is worth a hearing and will be an interesting disc for historians of mid-20th century France, but it is not for everyday listening. I shall be looking around for more modern recordings of some of this repertoire.

Patrick C Waller

see also review by Jonathan Woolf


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