GUSTAVE CHARPENTIER (1860-1956): Music for the Prix de Rome - Impressions d'Italie for Orchestra, Didon for Soprano, Tenor, Baritone and Orchestra, La Vie du poète for Soprano, Contralto, Tenor, Baritone, Symphonic Band and Orchestra, La Fête des myrtes for Chorus and Orchestra.

Catalogue Number: 12N006

Label: Glossa

Reference: GCD 922211

Format: CD

Price: $39.98

Description: The only item here recorded before is the set of five Impressions (the second packet sent back to Paris in 1889 from Rome), an explosion of colorful orchestration which could stand alongside Richard Strauss' Aus Italien or Rimsky's Capriccio espagnole as mementos of the warm Mediterranean south. The first packet consisted of the big-scale, 54-minute La Vie, called "symphonie-drame in three acts and four tableaux" by Charpentier. Very avant-garde for the time (read: Wagnerian in ethos), its subject is a poet unable to write. Its "tableaux" are "Enthusiasm", "Doubt", "Impotence" and "Intoxication", the latter happening only after the protagonist returns to Paris and finds inspiration at a popular celebration in Montmartre. As to the rest, Didon (the obligatory cantata written in Paris in 1887 to help win the Prix is a 32-minute cantata cum operatic scene of spectacular impact and at times Berliozian majesty while the little four-minute La Fête was the first compulsory exercise. 2 CDs. French-English texts. Manon Feubel, Sabine Devieilhe (sopranos), Helena Bobuszewicz (contralto), Bernard Richter, Marc Barrard, Alain Buet (baritones), Flemish Radio Choir, Royal Symphonic Band of the Belgian Guides, Brussels Philharmonic; Hervé Niquet.

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