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CHAN 5122
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CHAN 5122

Chabrier: Orchestral Works

The Classical Shop
release date: May 2013

Recorded in 24 Bit / 96Khz
album available as a Studio Master
Originally recorded in 2012


Orchestre de la Suisse Romande

Neeme Jarvi


Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland


Brian Pidgeon


Ralph Couzens

Record Label


Orchestral & Concertos

Total Time - 77:15
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Joyeuse marche (c. 1888)

  Orchestration by the composer of Rondo for piano four hands (1883, revised 1885)  
  À Vincent d'Indy  
  Tempo di marcia, molto risoluto e giocoso - Sans presser  

Overture to 'Gwendoline' (1879-85)

  Allegro con fuoco - Maestoso  

Habanera (c. 1885)

  Andantino - Poco più mosso - Tranquillo - Più mosso - Meno mosso - Risoluto  

Espana (1883)

  Allegro con fuoco - Serrez peu à peu le mouvement  

Lamento (1874)

  for Orchestra  
  Alexandre Emard cor anglais  
  Lent et très expressif - Pressez un peu le mouvement - Meno mosso largamente - Calme et doux - A tempo [I] - Plus lent (comme en se perdant)  

Bourree fantasque (1897)

  Transcription for Large Orchestra by Felix Mottle (1856-1911) of an original piece for piano (1891)  
  À mon ami Édouard Risler  
  Très animé et avec beaucoup d'entrain - Istesso tempo - Molto moderato - A tempo vivo -  

Suite pastorale (c. 1888)

  Orchestration by the composer of Nos 6, 7, 4, and 10 from Dix Pièces pittoresques for piano (1880)  
7 I Idylle. Andantino, poco con moto - Doux 4:03
8 II Danse villageoise. Allegro risoluto 4:43
9 III Sous-bois. Andantino - Meno mosso 4:07
10 IV Scherzo-valse. Allegro vivo - Più mosso - Tempo I. Allegro vivo 6:02

Three movements from 'L'Etoile' (1877)

11 Overture. Moderato - Andantino - Allegro - Presto 5:01
12 Entr'acte before Act II. Allegro franco 1:18
13 Entr'acte before Act III. Mouvement de valse 1:45

Two movements from 'Le Roi malgre lui' (1884-87)

14 Fête polonaise. Allegro molto animato - 6:55
  Più moderato e molto rubato - Vivo - Poco meno mosso - Tempo I moderato - Vivo - Strigendo - Sempre molto vivo - Molto vivo  
15 Danse slave. Allegro con brio 5:27

This album of popular works by Emmanuel Chabrier marks the beginning of a new series of French repertoire, performed by the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande under its newly appointed Artistic Director, Neeme Järvi.

After three attempts at comic opera, Chabrier finally achieved success in 1877 with L’Étoile, the plotline of which is set in the court of the somewhat emotionally unstable King Ouf. A couple of years previously, Chabrier had written a short Lamento for orchestra, a work which would not perhaps be considered revolutionary by today’s audiences, but which caused the committee of the Société nationale de musique to hum and haw over it for eighteen long months before finally letting it loose on the Parisian public in 1878.

From July to December 1882, Chabrier took his family on an extended holiday to Spain, during which he kept himself busy by noting down the Spanish folk tunes and dance rhythms he encountered on his way. He put many of them into his orchestral masterpiece España, a work overwhelming in its orchestral colour, which is such a characteristic feature of this composer. The impressions of his Spanish holiday can also be heard in the Habanera.

For six years Chabrier worked on Gwendoline, a two-act dramatic opera on a libretto by Catulle Mendès, set in Britain in what he called ‘barbarous times’. Inspired by Wagner and Berlioz, the Overture sets the scene perfectly for a drama of violence, treachery, and passion. A month after Gwendoline was premiered in Brussels in April 1886 the Opéra-Comique in Paris agreed to put on Chabrier’s next opera, Le Roi malgré lui, a melting pot of complex political intrigue, cheerful arias, and vivacious dances.

In 1880 Chabrier had written his Dix Pièces pittoresques for piano, and over the next few years he orchestrated four of them to form the Suite pastorale, with its gently pulsing ‘Idylle’ movement (which inspired Poulenc to become a composer), the raucous ‘Danse villageoise’, the sultry ‘Sous-bois’, and last but not least the sunny, high-spirited ‘Scherzo-valse’.

Also on this release is the Joyeuse marche, one of Chabrier’s most popular works, and the Bourrée fantasque, based on a dance from the Auvergne region in France where the composer had spent his childhood.

 "...Engineering is superb, with warm, vividly detailed sonices that place the listener in a credible space, in this case in the fables acoustic of Victoria Hall, Geneva..."                     Ronald E Grames

"...Järvi’s brisk, energetic style suits this music perfectly. He brings exuberance to the Joyeuse marche, which the composer himself described as "crazy", finds all the myriad colors in the popular masterwork España, and paces the "Féte polonaise" from Le Roi malgré lui with such brio that it sounds like a freshly refurbished carousel."  Phillip Scott

"...Järvi is convincing in all this rare content - and that’s not just a statement of support because the music is difficult to find, either. His handling of instrumental textures is masterly, and the energy he brings to everything here, convincing... With good sound and the Suisse Romande in fine form, get this one for the unfamiliar content ..." Barry Brenesal

Fanfare - November/December 2014

"... it is good to find Järvi recording music by Chabrier, whose orchestral output may well be a little greater than many people imagine. There are gems here, so I should add that Chabrier’s orchestral music is also of higher quality than is generally acknowledged. Certainly most of it is imbued with sunshine and joie de vivre... Järvi has a good instinct for this delightful music [Suite pastorale], the composer’s own orchestration of four of his marvellous Dix Pièces pittoresques for piano... I believe he [Järvi] has an affinity with this music. Järvi gives a magnificent performance of the Bourrée fantasque ... This is among the finest recordings I have heard... The Habanera shows yet another different aspect of Chabrier and here Järvi is delightfully characterful and rhythmically buoyant... The final track, the Danse slave, shows Järvi at his most engaged..."

Philip Borg-Wheeler - - 31 January 2014 


                              **** - Excellent 

Giuseppe Rossi - Musica magazine - November 2013

                    Orchestral Choice 

        Performance *****        Recording *****

"This will lift the spirits ... superb surround sound recording."

Christopher Dingle - BBC Music magazine - September 2013

“...Järvi brings both sympathy and solid podium technique to bear on his interpretations... the icing on this rather lovely confection is the superb surround sound provided by Chandos. It has all the impact, depth, and presence I’ve come to expect from the best SACD productions. I’m pretty sure that if you invest in this collection, it will be your favorite way to hear Chabrier from now on.”     *****
Lee Passarella – Audiophile – 19 July 2013 

“ is Chabrier’s own personality that shines through the nine works performed with luminous warmth by the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande under its music and artistic director Neemi Järvi. No Charbrier programme would really be complete without España , and here is is played with exuberance and gleaming colour tempered appropriately with Gallic taste... Extracts from the operas l’étoile and Le Roi malgré lui attest to the range of Chabrier’s output , the unifying feeling being the sheer joy, craftsmanship and radiance that Chabrier’s music possesses and which these performances encapsulate so ear-catchingly.”
Geoffrey Norris – Gramophone magazine – July 2013

“...It’s all dashingly played by the Suisse Romande Orchestra of which Jarvi is now principle conductor. Chabrier wrote to entertain his audiences and this is exactly what the programme does.”
Peter Spaull – Liverpool Daily Post – June 2013   

 "... Recorded SACD sound from Geneva’s historic Victoria Hall is entralling in its detail and dynamic range and Roger Nichols’s admirable booklet notes complete this wonderfully entertaining package. This is totally persuasive and irrisistible music-making from Järvi and the OSR, a magnificent orchestra ... Highly recommended."

Michael Jameson - International Record Review - June 2013

"... much to get pleasure from, and Ralph Couzens’s engineering – for sound that is vivid and within a defined acoustic – is impressive on its own terms."
Colin Anderson - - May 2013

This is the first time ever that I have submitted a review of a recording, and I have done so only because one has been requested. I have taken Gramophone on and off for forty years or more, a couple of years ago subscribing to the BBC Music Magazine also, only because I had become very fed up with many of Gramophone's reviews. Frankly, it's as if some of them want to cater only for other music industry professionals rather than for the record buying public. For example there is scant attention payed to the quality of recordings these days, and if that is mentioned it is only in passing, and very often gives the impression of complete ignorance of the subject. Very important though an informed critique of the musical performance is, that is not the only feature of a recording to be enjoyed at home on good equipment. Anyway, to what I think of the Chabrier. I downloaded the 24/96 version and it's very refreshing to listen to a natural recording rather than a multi-mic balance which too many so-called 'live' and 'in yer face' orchestral recordings seem to employ these days. Leif Ove Andsnes's beautiful Beethoven Journey on Sony is one of those, for example, and it received rave reviews, but the orchestra lacks perspective and the piano is so wide and phasey I find it unsettling to listen to when sitting in the stereo seat. The reasons are clear having seen all those microphones in the picture reproduced in Gramophone, and I'm afraid that that recording was wrecked for me. I'm getting off track again. I don't want to be too critical because I'm sure I have other excellent recordings of yours, but unfortunately I did think that in this case your main pickup was a bit too distant, particularly considering Chabrier's lighter style, and it did seem as if the HF was falling off too rapidly. Indeed I think I would have preferred a bit more bite and excitement that a few gingerly handled additional spot mics would have provided. Being the introductory first piece, the rather dull-sounding Joyeuse Marche is not quite joyeux enough and would have benefited most I feel; unfortunately it has a not very attractive bottom end swill and lack of definition. Maybe you had a difficult time managing the venue's acoustic? Thanks for bearing with me, and sorry if I'm being bit picky because, believe me, I'm really enjoying the recording. I wouldn't have downloaded it otherwise.
M Hall