Thursday, July 13, 2017

Hector Berlioz; Maurice Ravel - Les nuits d'été; Shéhérazade (Régine Crespin)


Composer: Hector Berlioz; Maurice Ravel; Claude Debussy; Francis Poulenc
  • (01-06) Berlioz - Les Nuits d'été, Op. 7
  • (07-09) Ravel - Shéhérazade
  • (10-12) Debussy - Trois Chansons de Bilitis, L. 90
  • (13-19) Poulenc - Chansons

Régine Crespin, soprano
Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (1-9)
Ernest Ansermet, conductor (1-9)
John Wustman, piano (10-19)

Date: 1963 (1-9), 1967 (10-19)
Label: Decca




These performances represent one of the unchallenged peaks in the history of French song on disc. Since the day they were issued in 1963, Régine Crespin’s Berlioz and Ravel have set the standard by which all others are measured, and if you’ve only room in your collection for one version of these pieces, then this is it. Fabulously remastered, the performances have come up sounding like new. In fact, I would go so far as to say that this is one of the finest recordings of the human voice ever made. Crespin is perfectly balanced against the orchestra and sounds almost as if she were in your listening room with you–it’s that tangible. Nothing stands between you and her incomparable way with the text of each song. For students of French singing, this disc is a veritable master class! Ernest Ansermet’s contribution is as distinguished as Crespin’s. He knows the music inside out. The Debussy and Poulenc songs with piano are on the same high level as the two orchestral works. Stunning.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday

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Hector Berlioz (11 December 1803 – 8 March 1869) was a French Romantic composer, best known for his compositions "Symphonie fantastique" and "Grande messe des morts" (Requiem). Berlioz made significant contributions to the modern orchestra with his "Treatise on Instrumentation". He specified huge orchestral forces for some of his works, and conducted several concerts with more than 1,000 musicians. Although neglected in France for much of the 19th century, the music of Berlioz has often been cited as extremely influential in the development of the symphonic form, instrumentation, and the depiction in music of programmatic and literary ideas.


Maurice Ravel (7 March 1875 – 28 December 1937) was a French composer, pianist and conductor. He is often associated with impressionism along with Claude Debussy, although both composers rejected the term. In the 1920s and 1930s Ravel was internationally regarded as France's greatest living composer. Ravel was an exceptionally skilled orchestrator, as in his well known 1922 version of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition. His best known works include Boléro (1928), Gaspard de la nuit (1908), Daphnis et Chloé (1912).


Régine Crespin (23 February 1927 – 5 July 2007) was a French singer who had a major international career in opera and on the concert stage between 1950 and 1989. She started her career singing dramatic soprano and spinto soprano roles in Wagner and Strauss operas, then went on to sing a wider repertoire of Italian, French, German, and Russian. In the early 1970s Crespin began performing roles from the mezzo-soprano repertoire. Throughout her career she was widely admired for the elegance, warmth and subtlety of her singing, especially in the French and German operatic repertories.


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  2. Thank you very much

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  4. I have this CD: the best nuits d'été ever recorded.