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Marc Minkowski, one of the most outstanding conductors of our time, has joined naïve for a long-term collaboration during which he will be surveying the music of Bach, Handel, Haydn and Mozart, among others. The first in this series of recordings features the works of Georges Bizet performed on instruments of the period. It brings an original approach to the music from two of his masterpieces, L’Arlésienne and Carmen.
In 1872, Bizet composed the incidental music for Daudet’s theatre play L’Arlésienne. Following the huge success of this music, he composed a suite for orchestra based on the best pieces included in the original incidental music. In 1879, four years after Bizet’s death, his friend Guiraud arranged a new orchestral suite, mainly based on Bizet’s music, but also adding new quotes from the incidental music. In 2007 Marc Minkowski selected the best pieces from the original incidental music and conceived his own fascinating suite. The program is completed with the Prelude” and three “Entr’actes” form Carmen.
Georges Bizet: Carmen
Georges Bizet: L'Arlesienne Suite No. 1
Georges Bizet: L'arlesienne
Act II: Entr'acte - Scene 2: La Cuisin de Castelet Carillon
Act II: Introduction and Melodrama: Der zweite Akt
Act II: Melodrama: Du willst er mir nicht sagen
Act II: Wiegenlied and Melodrama: Wie glucklich so zu schlafen
Act III: Introduction, Melodram and Finale: Im dritten Akt
Act III: Entr'acte - Farandole
Act III: Entr'acte - Le bon matin
Act III: Melodrama, Chorus and Finale: Der letzte Akt von Alphonse Daudets Theaterstuck
Georges Bizet: L'Arlesienne Suite No. 2 (arr. E. Guirand for orchestra)
25th May 2008
“To hear Bizet played on period instruments, and in the hands of musicians steeped in the French repertoire, gives special pleasure...Iit is rare to hear the purely orchestral movements of Bizet’s operatic masterpiece delivered with such flair, colour and authentic flavour: Minkowski’s Musiciens give us a truly Mozartian approach, as the composer would have wished, to music all too often overlaid with anachronistic verismo dynamism. In the Girl from Arles music...the delicacy and brilliance of the playing evoke the unique Provençal atmosphere of Daudet’s play as vividly as the Carmen music depicts Spain. Minkowski catches to perfection the swagger and exhilaration of the famous Farandole [in both its settings]”
“Minkowski has a ball with these suites, relishing their rich sonorities and glorious melodies, while at the same time investing them with a serious-minded sensitivity. The L’Arlésienne suites have rarely sounded so genuinely moving...The choral singing is splendid and the playing of Les Musiciens du Louvre alternates sparkle with delicacy of colour and feeling, while the recording and sumptuous packaging are first-class. This is now a clear first choice on virtually all counts for those wanting a disc combining music from Carmen and L'Arlésienne.”
“I find it hard to know what to praise most, the vivid, taut rhythms of the various marches and dances… the sensuous orchestral colours of the quieter moments, of the passion that suddenly erupts… in the L'Arlésienne overture.”
“Couplings of the Carmen and L'Arlésienne suites have long been a favourite, and Minkowski's new disc has the best of all worlds in demonstrating a Beechamesque flair (the opening cymbal crash of the Carmen Suite is immediately arresting) and in including three suites from L'Arlésienne, their content well thought out and lovingly prepared. They consist of the familiar First Suite (as Bizet designed it), the Second, arranged after the composer's death by Ernest Guiraud, including the borrowed Menuet from La jolie fille de Perth, and a third suite of excerpts from the original score. The collection is a delight, not least because of the beautifully elegant orchestral playing. Minkowski's choice of tempi and crisp pointing of the woodwind are admirable – in the first Entr'acte from Carmen, for instance, and the Minuet which follows. The Farandole too, is given a splendid lift by Minkowski's virtual double-dotting, while the flute solos in both Carmen and L'Arlésienne all have a delicious delicacy. There is much pleasure too, from the sensitive phrasing and the light and shade of the playing. L'Arlésienne's famous Adagietto is very affecting at the slower pacing, and it touchingly returns before the final reprise of the exuberant Farandole, heard first with men's voices and then full choir in imitation. ”
“The orchestral playing is first-rate in every way, with an especially delicate contribution from the flutes...The Carmen Suite is vivaciously colourful and, throughout, the recording is of demonstration quality.”
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