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Chabrier: Espana, Suite Pastorale, Fete Polonaise / Roussel: Suite in F Hybrid SACD

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Hybrid SACD, 13 Sep 2004
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Product details

  • Orchestra: Detroit Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Paul Paray
  • Composer: Emmanuel Chabrier, Albert Roussel
  • Audio CD (13 Sept. 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD
  • Label: Mercury
  • ASIN: B0002O390C
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 449,999 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. España - Rhapsody for Orchestra
  2. 1. Idylle
  3. 2. Danse villageoise
  4. 3. Sous-bois
  5. 4. Scherzo-Valse
  6. Fête polonaise
  7. Overture
  8. Danse slave
  9. Joyeuse marche
  10. Bourreé fantasque
  11. 1. Prelude
  12. 2. Sarabande
  13. 3. Gigue
  14. España - Rhapsody for Orchestra
  15. 1. Idylle
  16. 2. Danse villageoise
  17. 3. Sous-bois
  18. 4. Scherzo-Valse
  19. Fête polonaise
  20. Overture
  21. Danse slave
  22. Joyeuse marche
  23. Bourreé fantasque
  24. 1. Prelude
  25. 2. Sarabande
  26. 3. Gigue
  27. España - Rhapsody for Orchestra
  28. 1. Idylle
  29. 2. Danse villageoise
  30. 3. Sous-bois
  31. 4. Scherzo-Valse
  32. Fête polonaise
  33. Overture
  34. Danse slave
  35. Joyeuse marche
  36. Bourreé fantasque
  37. 1. Prelude
  38. 2. Sarabande
  39. 3. Gigue

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By Stanley Crowe TOP 500 REVIEWER on 11 Mar. 2014
Format: Audio CD
Another winner from the Mercury catalogue c. 1957-60, with Wilma Cozart at the helm (and responsible for the remastering too). The music of Chabrier here, from the 1880's, is largely dance-based, and its colorful orchestration, rhythmic flair, and thematic variety are totally engaging. The Detroit Symphony is on fine form, with brass and percussion well to the fore, and your toes will be tapping in most of the numbers. My personal favorite is the "Fete Polonaise," which comes across almost as a dance suite, with no let up of energy. It's a piece that wouldn't be out of place in a Vienna Philharmonic New Year's Eve concert, with its waltzes and mazurkas. "Espana" is an equally lively piece, with a Spanish dance flavor rather than a Slavic one. The "Suite Pastorale," based on a piano suite, has a more refined lyric touch in its first three movements, then the Scherzo-Valse last movement brings back the energy. Two pieces stand out as a bit more ambitious: the overture to the opera "Gwendoline" -- in which a marauding Dane marries a Saxon princess and bad things happen -- blends a vigorous martial theme with some lyrical passages and does so to fine effect. And the "Bouree Fantasque" (also originally for piano) is a kind of danse macabre scherzo, with eerie passages juxtaposed with sometimes threatening vigorous ones. If you think of some of Mahler's scherzos, and imagine a French Mahler, you might get something like this!

Mercury has filled up the CD with Roussel's Suite in F (from 1926). In terms of orchestral color and energy, it's a good fit, but it's a wee bit further from the dance, and in the first and third movements, we feel that we're not far from the cheeky and motoric young Prokofiev. The middle section is an eerie sarabande, which called Chabrier's "Bouree Fantasque" to mind. It's well played too. If you have to have only one Chabrier orchestral disc, you can't go wrong with this.
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Format: Audio CD
These are amazingly vibrant and wonderfully vivid performances of French orchestral masterpieces. Detroit SO's playing is marvellously alive. Originally recorded in 1957-60 in stereo, but the sound quality and its presence is incredibly close to the best digital recording you can get today.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 0.0 out of 5 stars 0 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Paul Paray SACD 11 Aug. 2015
By Musicman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I am very pleased with the CD. The sound quality and performance is outstanding.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dazzling Remastering of a great Chabrier Performance 18 July 2010
By W. Chiles - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
In addition to the other accolades shared previously, I wished to add that the SACD remastering reveals details on the original masters never heard even on the CD remasterings. You hear rosin on the bow details from the strings and an acoustical perspective in the excellent Detroit woodwinds and brass. Moreover, the engineer resolved an issue i've head with Wilma Cozart Fine's Mercury CD remasterings; the treble sounds artificially high likely due to high-frequency hearing loss on her part. The 3 SACD remasterings i've purchased with this label reveal a much more natural, smoother frequency response. As for the talent of Msr. Paray; one need only compare his interpretation of Espana with those of Ormandy and Karajan (both quite good) and hear additional nuances and details of articulation, dynamics, balances and phrasing glossed over by other great conductors. Paray was a master of interpretation and details. He inspired a performance by this second tier orchestra that places it on a par with the great Philadelphia orchestra. There is also a wonderful french style in the playing; the brass articulate precisely and use little vibrato and the strings and woodwinds play with transparency. The acoustic of the high school recording venue is perfect for this music. Get it while you can and check out an SACD player. Oppo sells one for around $200 that plays anything; DVDs, SACD, DVD-Audio.
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surefire recipe for Gallic confections: 30 Dec. 2004
By Bob Zeidler - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Take equal measures of (a) the music of a second-tier French composer, (b) the skills of a second-tier orchestra now deep in the American Rust Belt, and (c) the wizardry of the engineering staff of a second-tier American record label. Whip thoroughly into a froth using a thin ivory wand wielded by an expert French chef. Store for four and one-half decades. Carefully remove from storage and serve up on the latest platter, known to aficianados of this musico-culinary art as hybrid SACD.

That, in a nutshell, is what this superb new Mercury Living Presence hybrid SACD is all about. One of the first batch of such releases from Decca/Philips, Paul Paray's recording of the musical bon bons of Chabrier (with a nice filler of music by Roussel) has long been a classic, ever since the works were released on LP (actually, spread over four different LPs) nearly 45 years ago. A little over a decade ago, Mercury had released this same set of works as a conventional CD, remastered by the same person who had been in charge of the original recordings: Wilma Cozart Fine. This identical remastering is present in the "redbook" layer of this new hybrid SACD, but it is the SACD layer that merits special attention (and the 5 stars that I have assigned to the release).

I of course do Chabrier a tongue-in-cheek disservice by referring to him as a second-tier composer. Nonetheless, he had the misfortune of being a contemporary of Bizet, Fauré and Saint-Saëns, a fact that tends to obscure his musical contributions. Moreover, he had only a brief composing career, jammed into the final decade of his life (ending just as Claude Debussy's was beginning). Despite these disadvantages, a good bit of Chabrier's music is a frequent fixture at "pops" concerts, especially two works on this album: "España" and "Joyeuse Marche." Chabrier clearly had a flair for the bubbly in music, and most of his works on this album reflect that flair.

But Chabrier was also - despite his abbreviated career - an accomplished operatic composer (this despite the fact that his operas never did manage to make their way into the central repertoire). Perhaps his masterpiece in this genre is "Gwendoline," if the overture performed here is any indicator. It is a finely-wrought and dramatic work which, with its insistent timpani strokes at the beginning of the work, reminds me somewhat of the youthful Giacomo Puccini's Prelude to Act I of his "Edgar." Perhaps my favorite among Chabrier's works played here.

The album is nicely filled out with Albert Roussel's three-movement "Suite in F," a somewhat more modern work in a neoclassical vein, but still fitting in with the bubbly spirit of the Chabrier works.

My tongue is still further in my cheek with my "second-tier" reference to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Under Paul Paray's leadership, the DSO was in fact an excellent group. (And it has pretty much remained as such, although Paray did have the proper panache and insoucience that these French bon-bons require, probably in greater measure than almost any other conductor in recent memory).

Finally, there was never anything second-tier about the Mercury organization when it came to recording technology. In recent decades, only Telarc - among all of the American labels - seems to have been so successful with recordings of such uniformly high quality. But I think that Mercury easily "led the pack" for analog recording quality before the advent of the CD. One needs no more proof of this fact than simply listening to the SACD layer of this hybrid disc: It is a model of clarity and detail at all dynamic ranges, sounding as if it were produced "the day before yesterday."

Put all these ingredients together, and one does in fact have a "surefire recipe for Gallic confections!"

Bob Zeidler
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paul Paray/Detroit To The Finish Line....... 29 Sept. 2005
By Peter Prainito - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
If Paul Paray was a race horse, I'd place my bet on him each time to win...and indeed I would. This former conductor of the Detroit Symphony has the "Midas Touch", for everything he touches turns to gold. This SACD of Chabrier and Roussel is no exception, and belongs in everyone's musical library. No matter how many other recordings of these pieces you own...these renditions are essential. If the only Chabrier work you know is "Espana", you are in for a real treat, as all his music is tunefully delightful. The Roussel "Suite in F" is a nice constrast in musical styles. Consistently, each Paray/Detroit recording is a gala event. The pieces contained on this SACD are all very familiar to me, and yet it's as though I'm hearing them through a different set of ears. Conductor Paray brings out orchestral nuances like few other conductors can. Each work is played with energy, finesse, impeccable interpretation, and with extraordinary sound, which is a Mercury Living Presence trademark. Do yourself a favor, anything that Paul Paray and the Detroit Symphony have recorded...BUY!!! I have not lost a race yet. Very Highly recommended.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AWESOME PERFORMANCE & RECORDING! 9 Feb. 2008
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The playing of these lively and appealing pieces is top notch and the recording is amazing. It's hard to believe that this recording is 51 years old. It's so good that it easily beats new Telarc SACD's which have a misty digital glaze compared to the realistic clarity of this over a half a century old analog recording. This is a must have if you want to show off your system.
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