MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around

2021
56,451 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 







Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer

International mailing


 
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

 

paid for
advertisements

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews


TROUBADISC
Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews


FOGHORN Classics

Alexandra-Quartet
Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

Jonny-Bradley-handmade-knives
Johnny Bradley
Handmade Kitchen Knives

 


 


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

 

Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Loughton
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom

jonathan_woolf@yahoo.co.uk


 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers


Advertising on
Musicweb


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

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

Eloquence recordings
All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews

 

Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

December
(short month)


Orphic Moments


Metamorphoses Books I & II

November


Donizetti - Le Convenienze ed Inconvenienze Teatrali


Chamber Symphonies 2 & 4


French Cello Concertos

 

October


Shostakovich

 

Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
Jules MASSENET (1842-1912)
Ballet Music (from): Bacchus [20:44]; Hérodiade [10:48]; Thaïs [24:24]; Le Cid [21:58]
Barcelona Symphony Orchestra/Patrick Gallois
rec. 9-11 October 2012, L’Auditori, Pau Casals Hall, Barcelona
NAXOS 8.573123 [77:54]

This disc is just a peach. Jules Massenet’s ballet music brings together all the most charming musical trends of the 19th century: the new French ballet tradition, the lightness of Offenbach’s operettas, the lush tunes of Strauss’s Vienna, the big splashy orchestration of late-century “exotic” potboilers. The music keeps getting better and better as the CD goes along.
 
First I listened out of order and decided the opener, Bacchus, was my least favourite. Then I went in order and, mid-Bacchus, wondered what I had been complaining about. Yes, “Chasseresses et Bacchantes” has an early role for a percussion instrument so wimpily played that I’m not sure what it is, but then the most glorious Johann Strauss parody waltz breaks out and all is forgiven. Yes, the final bacchanale isn’t as crazy as Saint-Säens’ or Roussel’s, but what music is?
 
Hérodiade is an opera about Herod, where he’s the central character, in contrast with Richard Strauss’s Salome. The ballet music comes from a banquet where Herod entertains guests with dances by exotic slave girls from various foreign lands. It’s the shortest selection here.
 
Then we have big suites from Thaïs and Le Cid, each over 20 minutes, the highlights of the disc. Those who know Thaïs only for its “Meditation” will be happy to hear that the rest of the opera is also jam-packed with beautiful music. It’s varied, too, from the stern timpani roll of the opening andante to the perky Pierné-like flute and piccolo solos of the sixth movement, to the unexpected two-minute church-like organ solo. Le Cid is a festival of Spanish tropes, tunes and clichés from the very start. The inevitable cor anglais solo, in ‘Madrilène’, is just gorgeous. It’s as tuneful and colourful as the Spanish pastiches of Chabrier and Debussy, which is to say it’s a ton of fun.
 
The Barcelona Symphony plays excellently throughout, that one wimpy percussion issue confined to a single track. They seem to especially enjoy the Le Cid music, but who wouldn’t? Patrick Gallois continues to prove himself an extremely skilled, sensitive conductor of ballet music. You could imagine people dancing to this album. Given how good the music is, it’s extremely rare to have it collected on disc without the full operas alongside. Frémaux and Marriner have recorded Le Cid but for sound, panache and comprehensiveness, it’s hard to beat this. What fun.
 
I downloaded my review copy as MP3s from ClassicsOnline. The album comes with PDF booklet and cover art.
 
Brian Reinhart