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Debussy: Music for the Prix de Rome
Guylaine Girard (soprano), Sophie Marilley (mezzo), Bernard Richter (tenor), Alain Buet (baritone) & Marie-Josèphe Jude, Jean-François Heisser (pianos)
Flemish Radio Choir & Brussels Philharmonic, Hervé Niquet (direction)
Claude Debussy presented himself as a candidate for the Prix de Rome on three separate occasions during the 1880s, the most innovative decade in the history of that competition; a time when success entitled the victors (at the French government’s expense) to spend several years at the Villa Medici in Rome. Names of prize winners from this time include Debussy, Dukas, Leroux and Charpentier. Presented on this 2-CD set is a group of little known compositions by Debussy, dating from between 1882 and 1888: Le Gladiateur and the first versions of L’Enfant prodigue (of which only the 1906 reorchestration is occasionally performed) and Printemps – a highly individual piece (scored for choir and piano, four hands) later turned into a symphonic suite. A version for piano and voice of La Damoiselle élue and the choruses written for the competitions of 1882, 1883 and 1884 complete this survey of hitherto unknown works by Debussy. This release represents the first issue in a new collection from Glossa centred on music associated with the Prix de Rome. This is being prepared in collaboration with Hervé Niquet, who here is conducting two of Europe’s foremost ensembles.
“Tracing Debussy's progress from the derivative chorus Salut Printemps of 1882 to the masterly and utterly individual cantata La Damoiselle élue of 1888 is a fascinating journey... Bernard Richter makes a beautiful sound and uses the words with great sensitivity.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2010 ****
“Performances throughout are pristine and pure in exemplary sound.” Michael Quinn, Choir & Organ, July/August 2010 *****
“Finest of all in this sumptuously engineered, glowingly played programme is the deeply sensual La demoiselle élue” Julian Haylock, Classic FM Magazine, May 2010
“[L'Enfant Prodigue] receives a beautiful performance here. Bernard Richter...is a pleasingly lyrical Azael...Hervé Niquet handles the choral and orchestral forces with real sensitivity...Throughout the discs the singing of the Flemish Radio Choir is marvellously expressive and sensitive, with some really beautiful passages in very soft dynamics.” International Record Review, July/August 2010
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Caplet, Debussy and Ravel: Prix de Rome Cantatas
Brigitte Desnoues (soprano), Sharon Coste (soprano), Denis Rouger (choirmaster), Marc Duguay (tenor), Jean-Francois Lapointe (baritone), Gaele Le Roi (soprano)
Paris Sorbonne Chorus, Paris Sorbonne Orchestra, Jacques Grimbert