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  • Igor Stravinsky: Symphony of Psalms/Lili Boulanger: Du fond de l'abime;Psalms 24 & 129; Vieille Priere bouddhique
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Igor Stravinsky: Symphony of Psalms/Lili Boulanger: Du fond de l'abime;Psalms 24 & 129; Vieille Priere bouddhique


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Audio CD, September 10, 2002
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Boulanger: Psalm Xxiv For Tenor, Chorus, Brass, Timpani, Harps And Organ. La Terre Appartient À L'EternelLondon Symphony Orchestra 3:54$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Boulanger: Psalm Cxxix For Chorus And Orchestra. "Ils M'Ont Assez Opprimé Dès Ma Jeunesse"London Symphony Orchestra 7:31$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Boulanger: Vielle prière bouddhique (Prière quotidienne pour tout l'Univers) For Tenor, Chorus And OrchestraLondon Symphony Orchestra 8:27$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Boulanger: Psalm Cxxx For Contralto, Tenor, Chorus And Orchestra. "Du Fond De L'Âbime"Sally Bruce-Payne27:27$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Stravinsky: Symphonie de Psaumes - Revised Version, 1948 - 1. "Exaudi orationem meam"London Symphony Orchestra 3:03$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Stravinsky: Symphonie de Psaumes - Revised Version, 1948 - 2. "Expectans expectavi Dominum"London Symphony Orchestra 5:50$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Stravinsky: Symphonie de Psaumes - Revised Version, 1948 - 3. "Alleluia. Laudate Dominum in sanctis Ejus"London Symphony Orchestra11:25$1.29  Buy MP3 

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Product Details

  • Performer: Sally Bruce-Payne, Julian Podger
  • Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: John Eliot Gardiner
  • Composer: Lili Boulanger, Igor Stravinsky
  • Audio CD (September 10, 2002)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B000068PHA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,544 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By andrew john raiskums on March 9, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Reviews I've seen of this CD have praised the Stravinsky performance and rightly so, since it's a clean, punchy, and insightful reading of one of Stravinsky's most important choral works. But it's the Boulanger pieces on this disc that really grabbed me. Why had I not heard this amazing music before?
I learned there have been recordings of Boulanger's Psalm settings around. Igor Markevitch's pioneering recording from the 50's, supervised by Lili's sister, Nadia, has been in and out of the catalogue since it was released. (BBC Legends have recently brought out recordings from the '60's that were conducted by Nadia) Then, in the early '90's a disc on the Timpani label appeared, followed a few years later by Yan Pascal Tortelier's award-winning disc on Chandos. John Eliot Gardiner's new disc surely eclipses all these- his orchestra is the London Symphony, who play with great flare and commitment and his choir are the Monteverdi Choir, who respond ardently to the music, and their French is excellent.
I won't dwell on the sad details of Lili's life but suffice is to say that at 19 she won the Prix de Rome and these Psalms were written during her year-long stay at the Villa Medici, in 1916. She died less than three years later, from Crohn's disease.
What struck me first was how different the three Psalm settings are. Psalm 24, scored for chorus, brass, timpani, organ and harp, is short and fanfare-like, with the use of parallel fifths giving the music a quasi-medieval feel. A solo tenor is highlighted in the languid middle section which forms a beautiful contrast to the outer sections. The coda works to a powerful climax with the women's voices finally coming to prominence.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 26, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Here are some remarkable compositions by a remarkable composer who died at 24--certainly an incalculable loss for the world of music. Winning, apparently to no one's surprise, the Prix de Rome, the precocious Lili Boulanger, not yet 20, went off to Rome to compose three Psalm settings included on this disc, all in 1916, her 23rd year. They are by no means cut from the same cloth. Psalm 24 is very short and declamatory, with prominent brass as befits a song that begins "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof." Psalm 129, which laments the afflictions of Israel, is a more subdued work, with a quiet melismatic conclusion on the single word "Ah!" that recalls the wordless chorus in Holst's "Uranus" from The Planets, written about the same time. Any connection? Almost certainly not--chalk it up to the "great minds think alike" phenomenon.
The much longer Psalm 130 is an extended dramatic cantata based on the famous cry from the depths: "De profundis clamavi ad te Domine." The dark, indeed "profound," effects that Boulanger draws from the orchestra and chorus--concentrating on the low end of the spectrum with grumbling double basses and rolling timpani--mark her as a master colorist. Out of this bleak welter swells a contralto solo, pleading for forgiveness above limpid arpeggios from the orchestra (including the limpid sounds of the harp). Other soloists join in the prayer, interrupted now and again by the chorus still crying from the depths. The opposition is dramatic and highly effective. Though this work is slow in pace, its 27-minute duration seems much less. Fascinating stuff beautifully performed by John Eliot Gardiner's own Monteverdi Choir and the London Symphony.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By jonsj on October 23, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I'm going to restrict my review just to the Stravinsky Symphony of Psalms. I think Gardiner has done a wonderful job here. Incisive, exciting conducting, making the most of the score's spare orchestration and spikey rhythms. The chorus sings *beautifully* and emotionally (yes the combo of Gardiner and Stravinsky has produced an emotional performance!) The chorus's ethereal, pure sound in the closing Alleluias is haunting perfection. Compared to the recent recordings of Craft and Boulez, and classics by Ancerl, Bernstein, and Stravinsky himself, I'm inclined to rate this one at the top.
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Format: Audio CD
Gardiner had made so many best-selling recordings for DG that I imagine they gave him this 2002 CD as a pet project, and it's an honorable one. Not many listeners are likely to buy a program of the doomed Lili Boulanger's Psalms settings. They prefigure the taste among French modernists like Honegger, Milhaud and Poulenc for religosity that has the tang of medieval and modern mixed together, but always in a popular, accessible mode. Boulanger's four psalm settings are more heartfelt, I'd say, than her three successors' attempts to invoke God. One doesn't feel that she's kissing up to a retrograde Catholic audience; it took Messiaen to truly transform liturgical music in France with radical modernity. Most powerful of the Boulanger pieces here is the Old Buddhist Prayer, which builds into a strong (rather non-Buddhist) exhortation. The tenor soloist sounds a bit thin, however.

I'll bow to the lead reviewer in his description of how skillfully Boulanger uses parallel fiths and modal harmonies to achieve her effects. She's an excellent orchestrator when it comes to giving color and weight to the texts. Gardiner, always at his best with the Monteverdi Choir, leads fervent readings, although I wish the chorus hadn't been miked so far back; on my system there's also a metallic edge in loud passages, a complaint I had with Gardiner's B minor Mass, too. On other audio systems this may not be a problem, of course. One could hardly ask for a more committed performance in the Boulanger half of the program.

However, the Symphony of Psalms sounds under-rehearsed, basically a run-through. It's anodyne, the mod churchy and mellifluous. Thus the nature of the work, its austerity and its nod to ritual, are ignored. (How the lead reviewer hears a "punchy" performance is beyond me.
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