RE-RELEASE OF A SUPERB 1965 ANDRE CLUYTENS RECORDING FEATURING LEGENDARY SOLOISTS.
Hector Berlioz's (1803-1869) sacred triligy started life as a brief organ piece written by the composer at a party while playing cards. This became the now famous 'Sheperd's Farewell', and over time it was joined by the Overture and the tenor's narrative describing the Holy Family's arrival at Sais, a Roman city. The three items became 'The Flight Into Egypt, Part Two of the eventual 'L'Enfance....'which was completed in spurts over a period of four years.
'L'Enfance Du Christ' is intimate in character. The orchestration often inclines towards the pastoral, with the clarinet, cor anglais and horns alternately signifying calm, nature and nobility. The string writing, too, is markedly different - the textures are lucid, reminiscent of 'chamber music'. Vocally, the composition adopts a highly vivid operatic style for the soloists, but the choral passages are often similar to the orchestral writing in clarity; shunning the tendency of th epic stage that works towards the grand gesture.
The work is in three parts with four major soloists: narrator,tenor-Mary, Mezzo sop.- Joseph, baritone - Herod, bass-baritone, and a four-part choir. The work takes one from the birth of Jesus to the arrival of the Holy Family at Sais. Part One (Herod's Dream) depicts the agony of King Herod as he views the Child that will bring about his downfall, the result of which motivates the destruction of the first born children in the land. The final scene of Part One shows the Angels instructing Mary and Joseph to flee to Egypt to save Jesus. Part Two shows the gathering shepherds by the Manger bidding the Holy Family farewell, while the final part describes the anguish of Mary and Joseph upon arriving in Sais and struggling to find refuge.
This recording of 'L'Enfance du Christ', directed by Andre Cluytens, dates from 1965 and has become a Classic, the performance of which shows Cluyten's great admiration for the work. Indeed, he had brought forth four of the best known international soloists of that era for this recording! They are: Victoria De Las Angeles (Mary), Nicolai Gedda(narrator),Roger Soyer (Joseph) and Ernest Blanc (Herod). Along with the 'Orchesre de la Societe des Concerts du Conservatoire', we have excellent performers.
The second CD presents the orchestral music from "Romeo ed Juliette, op17" recorded by Conductor Carlo Maria Giulini made with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1969, who also add their excellence to this two CD package.
The liner notes include the program with a brief synopsis of each part, but there is no complete text in either language, French or English.