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Schmitt:La Tragedie De Salome (Psaume 47/ Tragedie De Salome/ Palais Hante) [Hybrid SACD, SACD]

Yan Pascal Tortelier Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Product details

  • Conductor: Yan Pascal Tortelier
  • Composer: Florent Schmitt
  • Audio CD (31 May 2011)
  • Please Note: Requires SACD-compatible hardware
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD, SACD
  • Label: Chandos
  • ASIN: B004YHBA90
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 265,276 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Psaume 47, Op. 38 - Various Performers
2. La Tragédie de Salomé, Op. 50 - Various Performers
3. Le Palais hanté, Op. 49 - Various Performers

Product Description

Review

Admired by Stravinksy and a close friend of Ravel, the French composer Florent Schmitt (1870-1958) wrote prodigiously until well into old age, by which time his lush, sensuous compositions had fallen out of fashion. His La tragédie de Salomé (1907), created for the American dancer Loie Fuller, remains one of his best-known works in part because its subject matter attracted a whiff of scandal early in its history. It was adapted for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes and danced, reportedly naked, by Ida Rubinstein. Psaume 47, with Susan Bullock as a fine soloist, is luxuriousy delivered by the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra and chorus, with conductor Yan Pascal Tortelier ensuring an authentically Gallic musical accent. --The Observer,03/07/11

Florent Schmitt was once a big thing in French music, and this disc brings together three pieces he composed between 1900 and 1910. The music inhabits the same sound world as Schmitt s contemporaries Debussy and Ravel, though without their harmonic adventurousness, and the São Paulo forces bring out all its lushness. **** --The Guardian,30/06/11

Tortelier excels in untrammelled sensuality.This is a superb CD,and an ideal introduction to the perilously seductive sound world of this composer. Performance ***** Recording ***** BBC MUSIC CHORAL & SONG CHOICE --BBC Music Magazine,Aug'11

Were he alive today,Schmitt would be writing for Hollywood disaster movies.If you want aural proof there is more to early 20th century French Music than debussy et al,investigate him and be pleasantly surprised. *** --Classic fm Magazine,Aug'11

Yan Pascal Tortelier and his Brazilian orchestra go all out for Schmitt --Gramophone,Sept'11

Product Description

La Tragédie de Salomé, op.50 - Le Palais hanté, op.49 - Psaume XLVIIII, op.38 / Susan Bullock, soprano - Chœur & Orchestre Symphonique de Sao Paulo - Yan Pascal Tortelier, direcion

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
From Chandos, we get what may be the first and last CD featuring Yan-Pascal Tortelier conducting the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra. It seems that no sooner had Meastro Tortelier taken the helm replacing John Neschling, he's now stepping down from the post. Well, even if this turns out to be the only Tortelier/Sao Paulo collaboration, it's certainly one in which everyone involved can be proud.

Florent Schmitt was one of the most fascinating French composers active in the early 20th century. Tortelier has selected one Schmitt rarity, along with two works that are among the best known and oft-recorded of the composer's. Starting with the tone poem "The Haunted Palace" (after Edgar Allen Poe), this is only the second recording of this music. Comparing this performance to Georges Pretre on EMI, Tortelier has taken things more slowly and deliberately. This allows us to hear more inner details of the score, which is interesting. But in the end, I think I prefer Pretre's leaner, swifter treatment -- especially as the score moves toward the final pages and where the music should sound more "manic" than we get here. Still, it's nice to have this piece in up-to-date sound (the EMI is from 30+ years ago) -- and with a better ensemble than the Monte-Carlo Orchestra was back in those days.

We now have a veritable embarassment of riches in terms of the "Tragedie de Salome" performances on CD. Just a few years ago, you'd be hard-pressed to find any choices beyond the classic Paul Paray/Detroit Symphony account on Mercury Living Presence.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting music in robust and dynamic performances 2 July 2011
By Classic Music Lover - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
From Chandos, we get what may be the first and last CD featuring Yan-Pascal Tortelier conducting the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra. It seems that no sooner had Meastro Tortelier taken the helm replacing John Neschling, he's now stepping down from the post. Well, even if this turns out to be the only Tortelier/Sao Paulo collaboration, it's certainly one in which everyone involved can be proud.

Florent Schmitt was one of the most fascinating French composers active in the early 20th century. Tortelier has selected one Schmitt rarity, along with two works that are among the best known and oft-recorded of the composer's. Starting with the tone poem "The Haunted Palace" (after Edgar Allen Poe), this is only the second recording of this music. Comparing this performance to Georges Pretre on EMI, Tortelier has taken things more slowly and deliberately. This allows us to hear more inner details of the score, which is interesting. But in the end, I think I prefer Pretre's leaner, swifter treatment -- especially as the score moves toward the final pages and where the music should sound more "manic" than we get here. Still, it's nice to have this piece in up-to-date sound (the EMI is from 30+ years ago) -- and with a better ensemble than the Monte-Carlo Orchestra was back in those days.

We now have a veritable embarassment of riches in terms of the "Tragedie de Salome" performances on CD. Just a few years ago, you'd be hard-pressed to find any choices beyond the classic Paul Paray/Detroit Symphony account on Mercury Living Presence. Then in short order, we've gotten the Marek Janowski/ONF reissue on Erato/Apex, and also brand new recordings by Sylvain Cambreling/Southwest German Radio, Sascha Goetzel/Borusan-Istanbul Philharmonic, Thierry Fischer/BBC National Orchestra of Wales, and Yannick Nezet-Seguin/Orchestre Metropolitain (Montreal).

Where does Tortelier come out in the competition? At or near the top, I think. This is a viscerally very exciting reading, masterfully played with precision and aplomb by the orchestra. Tortelier's musicality is really on display here, getting just the right balance between the quiet-yet-foreboding atmosphere of the Prelude and the "Enchantments of the Sea" sections, the thrilling excitement of the "Pearl Dance," and the drama and force of the final "Dance of Lightning" and "Dance of Fear." The conductor employs a female soloist in lieu of the oboe in one small but important part of the score, and this particular temptress sounds more sinuous than any other one on record. I wouldn't want to part with my Paray, Almeida or Martinon recordings of the Salome, but I have a feeling I'll be listening to Tortelier more often than any other one in the future.

The third work on the CD, the Psaume XLVII, is a blockbuster choral composition that deserves to be better known. The magnitude of the forces required (large orchestra ... large chorus ... soprano soloist ... organist) make it one of those pieces that's more "heard about than heard" -- and yet anytime it's performed in concert, the audience response is electric.

I find this interpretation by Tortelier to be quite interesting. In some respects, I'd classify it as very full-bodied and robust -- maybe even Teutonic in its style, which might be a bit surprising considering this is a French conductor with Brazilian performers. It's a more meaty, mighty sound than we hear with Jean Martinon (EMI), Jean Fournet (Fontec) or even Marek Janowski (Erato/Apex), but very convincing in its own right. I love how the conductor allows the brass to really play out in various different places (he does this in the Salome as well).

The canon section of the Psaume that starts about four minutes in is played more effectively than I've heard in any other performance, and the middle section, with its ecstatic soprano solo and soft murmering orchestral passages that contrast with the pugilistic power of the outer two sections, is breathtaking in its beauty. The soprano soloist Susan Bullock is also extremely well-suited for this music; she does a far better job than the disappointing account we have of Christine Buffle on the Fischer recording (Hyperion) -- that one is particularly ineffective -- or Sharon Sweet's heavy-handed account with Janowski on Erato/Apex.)

Mention should be made of the organ, however. While the instrument doesn't sound "bad," it doesn't come close to matching the genuine pipe organ sound on the Martinon/EMI recording (played by the legendary Gaston Litaize). Like the other more recent recordings of the Psaume, this one employs an electric organ, which just doesn't sound quite the same. Who could've expected anything else, as the Sao Paulo Orchestra's concert hall is a renovated/converted train station! As for me, having heard this piece in concert at the Washington National Cathedral with its huge pipe organ, I'll likely never be satisfied with any other treatment of the organ part, which is a shame because it plays a pretty important role in the work. This isn't a deal-breaker here ... just a bit of a disappointment.

Tortelier does take some interesting interpretive turns in the Psaume; he is rather more deliberate in his pacing in the beginning section with its jagged rhythms and ejactulatory choral exclamations. Also, the way he plays the concluding moments of the score is quite different from any other conductor on record or that I've heard in the concert hall. Some may find this unexpectedly surprising, but I like the different take and certainly can understand the merits of the conductor's approach.

As for the recording quality, it has all the classic trademarks of the "Chandos sound" -- plenty of reverb, but also good close-up presence. This is one of Chandos' new "super audio CDs" designed to play on conventional or DSD equipment. Some people aren't crazy about the Chandos "wash of sound," but it's never bothered me.

In sum, I recommend this CD for a superlative account of the Salome ballet, a very interesting performance of the Psaume XLVII that is effective on many levels, as well as an opportunity to hear a Schmitt rarity in the "Haunted Palace" ... in short, another winning CD from the Chandos classical team.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Finest Tragedie in the Catalogue 21 Oct 2013
By AndrewCF - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Apparently, Yan Pascal Tortelier’s tenure with the Sao Paulo Symphony was short-lived, from only 2009-11. The number of top notch recordings with the BBC Philharmonic is a testament to his great talent. But it wasn’t always thus in my opinion, and anyone who has heard his earlier Debussy and Rimsky-Korsakov knows that he is not in the same league as Munch in the former and Jarvi in the latter. Still, his Hindemith and Dutilleux are perhaps the finest in the catalogue, and his Dukas and Chausson are superb. One wonders whether Chandos will be releasing more of his conducting with the Sao Paulo Symphony.

This Schmitt recording is well worth having. I believe that this Tragedie de Salome is the finest that has ever been released. Although this work is abridged and reorchestrated from a longer ballet composed in 1907 (the complete original score can be found on a good Marco Polo disc), this is the version used by Diaghilev and the one that is more frequently performed. Tortelier does not shy away from the seductive and oriental colors of the music, and it is unashamedly voluptuous. While there are fine recordings by Martinon and Fischer, this one shows that the work can stand toe-to-toe with the most memorable of the Diaghilev ballets.

There really isn’t any serious competition as far as Le Palais hante is concerned. The old Pretre with the Monte Carlo Philharmonic is not in the same league (too forward recording revealing all the sour notes). Schmitt sounds more like Chausson here than Debussy, who was a major influence to Schmitt. Tortelier creates the proper mysterious atmosphere, perhaps coming closer to the spirit of Poe than almost any other work (Caplet’s Conte fantastique is the closest).

Alas, I cannot embrace this version of Psalm 47 as much as I would like. There can be no comparison to Martinon’s electrifying recording. Still, the Chandos version has outstanding sound and richness. Tortelier’s conducting seems somewhat enervated, but the sensual flow is still highly pleasurable, and it makes the point that Ravel must have heard this work (even though he was an atheist) before he wrote Daphnis and Chloe – at times, the similarities are astonishing. There is an opulence that could never be called “churchly.”

Even if you have a Tragedie de Salome in your library, you are going to want this one.
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