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Saint-Saens: La Princesse Jaune · Suite Algérienne
The Classical Shop
release date: August 2000
Originally recorded in 1996
Swiss Italian Orchestra
Maria Costanza Nocentini
Auditorium of Swiss Radio, Lugano, Switzerland
Gian Andrea Lodovici
La Princesse jaune
Orchestral & Concertos
Total Time - 63:17
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Suite algérienne, Op. 60
Rêverie du soir
Marche militaire française
La Princesse jaune, Op. 30*
'A comic opera in one act by Louis Gallet'
The scene is set in Holland, in the house of Léna's parents
Léna: 'Outsou Sémisi Kamini' (Allegro) -
Kornélis: 'J'aime dans son lointain mystère' (Allegro con moto) -
Léna: 'Je faisais un rêve insensé' (Andante) -
Kornélis: 'Vision dont mon âme éprisee' (Allegro moderato) -
Kornélis: 'Ah! Quel nuage d'or' (Moderato) -
Léna: 'C'est ainsi que ton image' -
Kornélis: 'Ce doux mot qu'ignorant de moi-même' (Moderato)
An exciting premiere recording of Saint-Saëns’s ‘japonisme’ operetta ‘La Princesse jaune’ (The Yellow Princess).
Saint-Saëns’s ‘Suite algérienne’ (of which there are only two other recordings currently available) makes an ideal coupling as it contrasts his delicately flavoured oriental writing with the bold North African colouring.
The internationally renowned Swiss Italian Orchestra is conducted by the gifted conductor and teacher Francis Travis who has appeared at prestigious festivals and opera houses all over the world.
‘La Princesse jaune’ (The Yellow Princess) came about in the autumn of 1871 because the Director of the Opéra-comique, Camille Du Locle, was having trouble fulfilling his promise to mount Saint-Saëns’s first, full-length opera ‘Le Timbre d’argent’; theatres were hard-pressed in the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War and the revolutionary Paris Commune. So Du Locle suggested that Saint-Saëns collaborate with a young poet, Louis Gallet, on something more straightforward in one act. The result was what Saint-Saëns later referred to as ‘that innocent little work’, explaining that ,’at the time, things Japanese were all the rage, so we set sail for Japan and ‘La Princesse jaune’ was born’. But as Du Locle was not keen on things oriental, a compromise between Japan and Holland was struck, and it was duly premiered in 1872.
Saint-Saëns wrote a polished and sophisticated operetta which was castigated for its Wagnerian tendencies although the touches of ‘japonisme’ are delicate and lightly sketched. It is an intimate work, with two soloists and an off-stage chorus which sings only once.
The ‘Suite algérienne’ reflects Saint-Saëns’s love of Algeria, (he was eventually to die there). The theme for the third movement actually came to him on his first visit in 1875 and the piece originally stood alone under the title ‘Rêverie orientale’. After it was performed with great success at a charity concert in Paris in 1879, Saint-Saëns’s publisher urged him to write more ‘picturesque’ pieces like it. The Suite was complete in the summer of 1880 and first performed in December of that year with great success.
The japonaiseries of Saint-Saënss music are made from delicate instrumental tracery, pentatonic sales and vocal melisma. This enchanting performance conveys its lightness and sophistication…
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