CHABRIER: Joyeuse march. Gwendoline Overture. Habanera.
Bourée fantasque. Pastorale Suite. Three movements from L'Étoile. Two movements
from Le Roi malgré lui.
HEGGIE: From the Book of Nightmares. GARNER: Vina
Three Irish Folksong Settings. WOOF: Rumi: Quartrains of Love.
BOLCOM: Five Cabaret Songs.
RIES: Der Sieg Des Glaubens
This site already has praised recent SACDs by Neeme Järvi, particularly his disk of of music of Saint-Saëns (REVIEW). Now we have another commendable issue of orchestral showpieces, this time music of Emmanuel Chabrier including his best-known works and some rare pieces as well. We have the inevitable España, Joyous March and Gwendoline Overture, plus the other works listed above, and all are gems in these loving, vital performances. Particularly entrancing are the overture and two brief dances from the delightful comic opera L'Étoile. Audiophiles will revel in the rich orchestral sonorities.
American soprano Lisa Delan is best known as an interpreter of American music. She sang in the premiere of Gordon Getty's Joan and the Bells, and can be heard in the Pentatone recording of the work (REVIEW). This new disk features three works written for the occasion, and we can consider these to be definitive performances as Delan was involved in composition of each work. Two works, Jake Heggie's From The Book of Nightmares, is a setting of poems by Galway Kinnell, and Luna Pearl Woolf's Rumi: Quatrains of love, to poetry of Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, are scored for soprano and piano with an important part for the cello played here by Matt Haimovitz. David Garner's Vilna Poems, to texts by Avrom Sutzkever, also includes the cello, plus a clarinet played here by David Krakauer. John Corigliano's Three Irish Folksong Settings feature soprano and flute, played by Maxim Rubtsov. The other song cycles, Gordon Getty's Four Emily Dickinson Songs and William Bolcom's Five Cabaret Songs to poems by Arnold Weinstein, are for soprano and piano. Delan sings all of these very well, and she obviously undertstandes the varied texts. She has the advantage of Pentatone's superb audio that clearly defines all textures, with performers placed in front. Complete texts are provided although Delan's enunciation almost makes them unnecessary.
Ferdinand Ries (1784-1838) was a prolific German composer, writing 8 symphonies, 8 piano concertos, and a great deal of chamber music, including 26 string quartets. He studied and worked closely with Beethoven, was his secretary and biographer, and assisted in publication of many of Beethoven's works. It is not surprising that Ries's music is in the Beethoven tradition. His large-scale oratorio Der Sieg des Glaubens ("The Triumph of Faith") to a text by J. B. Rousseau, is a powerful, majestic work scored for soprano, alto, tenor, bass, chorus and orchestra. From the opening to the final jubilant hymn of praise we often are reminded of Beethoven. Ries's cantata was composed in 1829 and there is no question that he was influenced by Beethoven's Choral Symphony of fiver years earlier. The dedicated performance is outstanding, and this large-scale choral work has been recorded with a big, rich , well-balanced sound, full and satisfying is not particularly "surround." Complete texts are provided in German and English. Highly recommended!
R.E.B. (July 2013)