One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,416 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount



CD: AmazonUS

Victor MASSÉ (1822-1884)
Galathée (1852)
Pygmalion — Andrei Gresse (bass)
Midas — Alex Jouvin (tenor)
Ganymède — Albert Vauguet (tenor)
Galathée — Jane Morlet (soprano)
Orchestra and chorus of the Opéra-Comique, Paris/Émile Archainbaud
rec. c.1912, Paris
Les noces de Jeannette (1853)
Jeanette — Ninon Vallin (soprano)
Jean — Léon Ponzio (baritone)
Thomas — M. Laurent
Pierre — Mme de. Busson
Orchestra and chorus of the Opéra-Comique, Paris/Laurent Halet
rec. 1922, Paris
No texts.
MARSTON 53010-2 [3 CDs: 76:43 + 75:56 + 77:10] Details of works included in the Appendix listed below.

Experience Classicsonline


Marston is making its inexorable way through Pathé’s remarkable, acoustically recorded opera series. The recording began with Carmen in 1911 and ended with Massenet’s Manon in 1923. In between there was a series of outstanding complete sets, mostly of canonic works, but also including three that are little known today. One was Nouguès’ Les Frères Danilo, recorded in 1912-13, and the other two are contained in this exquisitely produced three CD set. Both are by the once exceptionally popular Victor Massé. Galathée was composed in 1852 and was recorded in around 1912, whereas Les noces de Jeannette is the product of sessions in 1922. Both are exceedingly rare now, and their appearance here is not simply logical but is made even more valuable by virtue of the appendix, which contains other performances of the music from both operas. It’s an index of the popularity of both works that not only were complete opera sets made, but that so many other isolated extracts exist of music from them too.

Both works were acclaimed at the Opéra-Comique. They need singers immersed in the style, singers able to give life, and idiomatic life at that, to the numerous spoken passages. Galathée is the less well known of the two, whereas Les noces de Jeannette was an immense hit for the composer, but listening to them side by side, as it were, gives one an opportunity to acknowledge Massé’s sheer consistency of invention, and to admire the singers who undertook these two pioneering recordings.

The reinforcement of brass basses is most apparent in Galathée but it’s also notable just how well balanced is the solo harp, for instance, and the balance between voice and orchestra is good — albeit Pathé was maddeningly inconsistent in recording quality. There is minimal stage craft but there is some — there’s a door knocking scene leading to the first spoken text near the beginning of the first Act. As an investigation into prevailing spoken style, into the contemporary Opéra-Comique approach, this is a fascinating document. All four singers are personable. Albert Vaguet is the best known, a much recorded tenor. Alex Jouvin’s articulation is a touch eccentric, so too his divisions and stage laugh but he makes a strong aural impression. André Gresse had been recording for a decade by this time, and his confident, authoritative presence is cemented by an equally attractive and theatrically convincing spoken style. Whereas in years to come, much nearer our own time and on LP, actors were employed in scenes such as this, here we have no such mismatch between song and speech. In the title role is Jane Morlet, whose first appearance is teasingly delayed — the story incidentally is effectively that of Pygmalion — and who demonstrates real stylistic assurance and textual nuance. Ensembles exude fun and wit, the texts are taken crisply and with buoyant internal rhythm.

Ninon Vallin is the star of Les noces de Jeanette, but on no account overlook León Ponzio, her Jean, who brings élan, style, and immense vocal charisma to his role. She, meanwhile, sings with clarity and directness, though genuine badinage and wit is not really her province, splendidly though she sings as such. Once again the spoken scenes are excellent, ensembles too, though I miss in Vallin a little of what Morlet brought a decade earlier. The two smaller parts are well taken, though the Thomas, one M. Laurent, seems to have escaped biographers to such an extent that his Christian name is unknown. The quality of the recording had necessarily improved and Pathé seems to have become a touch more consistent by this time, unless that’s an aural illusion provided by Ward Marston’s tremendous transfers. Still, the pealing bell effect in Act II registers clearly and the clarity of articulation in sung and spoken scenes is high indeed.

The Appendix gives us 17 separate songs from both operas in recordings dating from 1900-22. Some of the greatest names in French singing are here in rare discs. Marie Charbonnel survives a rough sounding c.1910 Trianon whilst Suzanne Brohly reminds us in her 1922 disc that the role of Pygmalion in Galathée was originally to have been that of a mezzo. Rose Heilbronner’s French Gramophone disc was pretty much contemporary with the 1912 Pathé set, but her disc is immeasurably better recorded, though neither she nor Joachim Cerdan can match the Pathé singers for personality. It’s very valuable to find the little known soprano Marie-Louise Martini in her 1909 APGA, but it’s also good to find so eminent a soprano as Lise Landouzy too in her c.1911 Odéon. Jane Marignan’s 1905 Pathé has one of those rinky-dink Parisian piano recordings — could it have been pitch stabilised? — whereas the great Gabriel Soulacroix, recorded in 1900, five years before his death, suffers no such trouble in his extract from Les noces de Jeanette. Others to impress include the imaginative and exciting Louis Dupouy, and the similarly talented Alexis Ghasne. Georgette Bréjean-Silver is rather weak-toned in her extract.

This three disc set is aimed squarely at specialists in French opera on disc. As such it is a niche set, but that’s pretty much a given, since almost all Marston discs appeal to the specialist collector of one sort or another. The project has been realised with outstanding intelligence and application, and is recommendable in every respect.

Jonathan Woolf

List of works in the Appendix
Tristes amours! -Marie Charbonnel (con) as Pygmalion; ca. 1910; TRIANON (7411) 7411O Vénus - Suzanne Brohly (ms) as Pygmalion; 8 February 1922; GRAMOPHONE (CE238-1) 033225
Aimons! Il faut aimer - Rose Heilbronner (so) as Galathée and Joachim Cerdan (bs) as Pygmalion; 17 December 1912; GRAMOPHONE
Ah! Qu’il est doux de ne rien faire - Georges Régis (te) as Ganymède; 27 December 1910; GRAMOPHONE (16197u) 4-32224
Mais quels transports nouveaux? - Lise Landouzy (so) as Galathée; ca. 1911; ODÉON (XP5527) X56227
Ah! Qu’il est doux de ne rien faire - Georges Régis (te) as Ganymède; 27 December 1910; GRAMOPHONE (16197u) 4-32224
Enfin me voilà seul - André Baugé (ba) as Jean; 19 May 1921; GRAMOPHONE (03446v/03447v) W411

Les noces de Jeannette
Enfin me voilà seul - Gabriel Soulacroix (ba) as Jean; July 1900; GRAMOPHONE (1020G) 32879
Enfin me voilà seul - André Baugé (ba) as Jean; 19 May 1921; GRAMOPHONE (03446v/03447v) W411
Parmi tant d’amoureux - Lise Landouzy (so) as Jeannette; ca. 1905; PHRYNIS 2-MINUTE CYLINDER (10401)
Margot, Margot, lève ton sabot - Alexis Ghasne (ba) as Jean; 1907; APGA (1736) 1736 Halte-là, s’il vous plaît!- Yvonne Brothier (so) as Jeannette and André Baugé (ba) as Jean; 24 May 1921; GRAMOPHONE (03451v/0345
Ah! Vous ne savez pas, ma chère - Berthe César (so) as Jeanette and Louis Dupouy (ba) as Jean; 5 September 1912; GRAMOPHONE (17306u)
Cours, mon aiguille, dans la laine [Romance de l’aiguille] - Jeanne Daffetye (so) as Jeannette; June 1907; GRAMOPHONE (6759o) 33820
Au bord du chemin [Air du rossignol, part 1 only] - Jeanne Leclerc (so) as Jeannette; 1905; ODÉON (XP1623) 36126
Au bord du chemin ... Pour entendre mieux [Air du rossignol] - Georgette Bréjean-Silver (so) as Jeannette; ca. 1907; ODÉON (XP3267/3268) X56071/56073
Allons, je veux qu’on s’assoie - Nelly Martyl (so) as Jeannette and Louis Dupouy (ba) as Jean; 23 November 1911; GRAMOPHONE (02228v)


































































Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.