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AV 0008
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AV 0008

Ibert - Persée Et Andromède

The Classical Shop
release date: April 2007

Originally recorded in 2007


Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg

Jan Latham-Koenig

Philippe Rouillon


Mélanie Moussay


Annick Massis


Yann Beuron



Salle Erasme du Palais de la Musique et des Congres de Strasbourg

8 & 9 Oct 2001


Stephen Schellmann

Record Label
Avie Records



Total Time - 69:52
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Persée Et Andromède

  Or The Happiest Of The Three  
  Act 1  
1 (On entend les vagues égrener leur chapelet sue le rivage) 2:52
2 Voici l'aube 6 Néréides 2:07
3 (La messagère de Junon s'avance vers le Monstre) 2:52
4 (Andromède rassurée se rendort) 2:51
5 Ah! Andromède 4:08
6 Il était une fois fois Cathos 2:04
7 Que le diable t'emporte! Andromède 1:05
  Act 2  
8 (Andromède arrive par le fond) 4:52
9 Oh! Là-bas dans le ciel Andomède 5:00
10 Je t'attendais Cathos 1:52
11 (Au milieu de la scène Persée rajuste son armure) 2:15
12 (Andromède court vers le promontoire) 4:02
13 (De la carapace du monstre surgit un Prince) 4:18

La Ballade De La Geôle De Reading

14 Il n'avait plus sa tunique écarlate. He did not wear his scarlet coat.... 12:57
15 Cette nuit là, les corridors vides furent pleins de formes effrayantes. That night the empty corridors Were full of forms of Fear 6:56
16 Le vent frais du matin commença à gémir. The moaning wind went wandering round 5:39

Sarabande Pour Dulcinée


Ibert: Persée et Andromède, etc. AV 0008
The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs wrote:

'When Ibert won the Prix de Rome in 1919 it led to a two-year residence in Rome, which proved a most fruitful period for him creatively, resulting in, among other pieces, the two main works on this Avie disc. La Ballade de la Geôle de Reading, inspired by passages from Oscar Wilde's poem, ignores the text in a purely orchestral evocation, with echoes of Ravel's Daphnis et Chloé hardly suggesting the rigours of prison life. Persée et Andromède is a miniature opera in two compact acts, telling of Andromeda and the monster Cathos who eventually, after being slaughtered by Perseus, rises from his remains to become a handsome prince. The opening immediately establishes an exotic atmosphere, very French with echoes of Ravel and Poulenc, and with Cathos's suppressed love for Andromeda, his prisoner, finding the beginning of a response. Perseus does not arrive until Act II, riding on Pegasus, here depicted as rather a conceited figure. When Cathos is finally transformed, his music grows more sensuous too, culminating in a love duet. All three principal soloists are first-rate, with fresh, youthful-sounding voices. The 'Sarabande pour Dulcinée', taken from Ibert's ballet [sic] Don Quichotte, is an attractive makeweight. Sensitive direction from Jan Latham-Koenig throughout and very well recorded, warmly responsive playing from the Strasbourg Philharmonic.'

"This disc represents an invaluable addition to the Ibert discography. It is a tribute to all involved in the preparation of this disc that it can be recommended wholeheartedly.

The recording is excellent throughout. Latham-Koenig’s careful preparation means that every detail of Ibert’s scores is audible yet expertly balanced. The recording range is wide, so the opening of ’Persée’ (marked ppp) is barely audible, and the climaxes have all the space they require.

The Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra obviously feel at home in Ibert’s often quasi-Debussian textures and gestures (try the opening of ’Persée’ with its string tremolandi and flute arabesques).

’Persée et Andromède’ (1921) is one of Ibert’s six operatic works. As a dramatic offering, it mixes opera seria and opera buffa expertly. Andromède is under the guard of the monster Cathos. Persée arrives to free her, in the process killing Cathos. Under the influence of the monster’s dying avowal of love, Andromède denies Persée, who departs: the requisite fairy-tale ending arrives when a Prince arises from Cathos’s shell.

Ibert brings the story to life by a multitude of strokes of imaginative orchestration. The six Sea Nymphs (Néréides) greet the dawn, a mix between Wagner’s Rhine Maidens and the female chorus of the ’Sirènes’ movement of Debussy’s orchestral ’Images’.

All of the three major roles are expertly taken (and special mention should go to Mélanie Moussay, who takes the small part of Thétis). The soprano Annick Massis is a fine, lyrical Andromède, who phrases and pitches well. Importantly, she sounds young and fresh. She is outstanding in her extended solo at the beginning of Act Two .

The bass-baritone Philippe Rouillon has a well-focussed voice and he ensures that the listener falls in sympathy with his character: the final duet (where he is the Prince) is tender and beautiful. Yann Beuron is an appropriately self-confident yet shallow Persée, full of ardent yet short-lived passion.

The orchestral ’La Ballade de la Géole de Reading’ dates from 1922. Latham-Koenig reasserts his affinity with the music from the outset, setting up a flowing yet mysterious atmosphere. Cor anglais solos are excellent, conveying a plaintive aura. Some of the compositional devices used by Ibert are positively filmic: this is an entrancing piece which exudes much beauty.

The final piece on this disc, the four-minute ’Sarabande pour Dulcinée,’ is a beautiful miniature, the opening providing an outpouring of French Romanticism after the initial typically delicate trills . The piece is imbued with a gentle tinge of melancholy. The excerpt is from a four-act ballet based on Cervantes’ ’Don Quixote’ and occurs at the point at which Dulcinée makes an appearance to comfort the hero. It is played here with real tenderness - only the occasional spotlighting in the recording detracts slightly.

This is an eminently recommendable disc of three little-known pieces in performances which lavish them with care and love. A triumph."

Colin Clarke

MusicWeb International

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