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  • Milhaud: Les Choephores / Roussel: Symphony No. 3 / Honegger: Rugby - Pacific 231
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Milhaud: Les Choephores / Roussel: Symphony No. 3 / Honegger: Rugby - Pacific 231


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Audio CD, January 14, 1997
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1. Les Choephores, Op. 24: I. Vociferation funebre
2. Les Choephores, Op. 24: II. Libation
3. Les Choephores, Op. 24: III. Incantation
4. Les Choephores, Op. 24: IV. Presages
5. Les Choephores, Op. 24: V. Exhortation
6. Les Choephores, Op. 24: VI. La justice et la lumiere
7. Les Choephores, Op. 24: VII. Conclusion
8. Symphony No. 3 In G Minor: I. Allegro vivo
9. Symphony No. 3 In G Minor: II. Adagio
10. Symphony No. 3 In G Minor: III. Vivace
11. Symphony No. 3 In G Minor: IV. Allegro
12. Pacific 231, Mouvement symphonique no. 1
13. Rugby, Mouvement symphonique no. 2

Product Details

  • Performer: New York Schola Cantorum
  • Orchestra: New York Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Leonard Bernstein
  • Composer: Darius Milhaud, Albert Roussel, Arthur Honegger
  • Audio CD (January 14, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Classical
  • ASIN: B0000029PD
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #377,945 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Santa Fe Listener HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 10, 2005
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Every conductor has a public image, and Bernstein's was formed around everything that seems un-French. He isn't known for delicacy, precision, finesse, or Gallic dryness. But he was Koussevitzky's heir apparent, and this recordig shows just how wonderful he oculd be in Frnech music, like his mentor. The Roussel Third, the best of that composer's galvanic symphonies, was commissioned by the BSO under Koussevitzky and has never received a more charismatic performance than this one from 1961, which raises the roof. The 20-bit remastered sound is vivid and full of impact--it rivals anything produced today.

The major work here is a little-performed Milhaud choral work, Les Choephores (The Libation Bearers), taken from Greek drama, which competes with Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex in style while retelling the same story as Strauss's Elektra. There's no contest, really, with those two masterpieces on musical grounds, but the Milhaud is probably his best large-scale work. The real star is non-musical: Vera Zorina narrating the tale of revenge and murder in spoken verse set to a rhythmic percussion background. Milhaud could never completely escape the breezy, cabaret-inflected idiom of Les Six, however, and at times what should be violent sounds more like a rumba. Never mind -- Zorina is riveting, and so is Bernstein's propulsive, thoroughly committed conducting. Once again the sound is all but perfect.

Finally we get two short "symphonic movements" by Honegger. The first, "Pacific 231," which portrays a steam locomotive of the same name getting underway and speeding down the tracks, was a famous bit of machine-age music in its day. Honegger didn't want to be known for such glib program music, but that didn't stop him from composing the second work, "Rugby," inspired by a sports match.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By William Michaels on March 28, 2008
If the performance of the Roussel on this CD is the same as that on the 1964 LP--grab it!!! That is purely and simply the best recording of a Roussel symphony ever made. It is a large-scale interpretation, like Bernstein's versions of the late Haydn symphonies, and enhances our view of Roussel's capabilities. It puts Symphony No. 3 nearly on an equal footing with Roussel's greatest masterpiece, Bacchus and Ariane.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Hiram Gomez Pardo HALL OF FAME on January 11, 2013
As a matter of fact, Bernstein is not commonly associated with the French repertoire. Nevertheless, this recording is a real exception, and only may be labeled as anthological.

Milhaud's Les Choephores just only be classified as top of the list. And certainly one of the twenty best achievements of Leonard bernstein along his succesful career. He confers the work, the mythical atmosphere and expressive punch that will really leave you breathless.

Albert Roussel's Third Symphony is formidable from start to finish. Its outburst of untamed energy in hands of Bernstein acquires a superb performance.

Finally, Honneger's Pacific 231 is just surpassed by the unequaled baton of Ernest Ansermet.

An album for the ages and a true collector item.
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