Author Topic: The best of Massenet?  (Read 1661 times)

JimL

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Re: The best of Massenet?
« Reply #30 on: Wednesday 03 May 2017, 14:03 »
An excellent idea sir!  Will do!
"The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind." - Blake

Alan Howe

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Re: The best of Massenet?
« Reply #31 on: Wednesday 03 May 2017, 16:00 »
Thanks, Jim. It'll make it so much easier to locate the specific topic in future. I hope the Massenet Society can shed some light on the mystery. My guess? There's no such piece. But I'd be delighted to be proved wrong.

JimL

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Re: The best of Massenet?
« Reply #32 on: Wednesday 03 May 2017, 16:30 »
Who knew Gounod had composed a concerto, much less 2 concertante works?  It wasn't until somebody started to explore his output (and investigate the piano-pédalier literature) that his works for that instrument were discovered.  All anybody had to do was dig a little.
"The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind." - Blake

eschiss1

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Re: The best of Massenet?
« Reply #33 on: Wednesday 03 May 2017, 22:00 »
Well, not -such - an exact analogy, since the Gounod works received a few performances (with premieres to, especially in England, dismissive reviews) and are iirc mentioned in Hinson's books on the piano literature among other things, so they were known of well before Mr. Prosseda _took them up_ and Hyperion recorded them, if, still, not performed in ages. But point taken.
"Write a music you love very much. If you are completely convinced, others will be convinced, and will eventually come to love it as you do." - Sessions, as quoted by Harbison (in 1977)

Alan Howe

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Re: The best of Massenet?
« Reply #34 on: Wednesday 03 May 2017, 22:51 »

mjmosca

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Re: The best of Massenet?
« Reply #35 on: Tuesday 16 May 2017, 11:41 »
I remember the bad old days when even Werther was hardly ever heard! I did get to see Esclarmonde when the Metropolitan mounted it for Sutherland and it was stupendous! The entire work is gorgeous! The criticism of his work is largely the result of the rage of modernism which is suspicious of anything that is that melodic or enjoyable. Next year, the Metropolitan will mount Cendrillon- another superb work. I could never understand why it was never mounted again- a fine cast could be put together, even after Sutherland's retirement- perhaps the "shadow" of Sutherland and the inevitable comparisons gave later sopranos pause for thought.....

I am convinced that in the US the neglect of French music, particularly opera, is primarily the result of demographics. Two of the major ethnic groups that came to the US in the late nineteenth-early twentieth century were German and Italian. Naturally they brought with them their (wonderful!) culture including music. The early years of the Metropolitan Opera is fascinating in that they presented Faust, but in Italian or German (depending on the national origin of the Director!).

I cannot chose one opera as Massenet's best- there are too many great ones!

Alan Howe

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Re: The best of Massenet?
« Reply #36 on: Tuesday 16 May 2017, 11:59 »
Absolutely right. He was a genius.

Mark Thomas

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Re: The best of Massenet?
« Reply #37 on: Tuesday 16 May 2017, 13:30 »
Spot on, indeed.

Mark Thomas

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Re: The best of Massenet?
« Reply #38 on: Friday 19 May 2017, 10:57 »
All the above said, this week I've listened to both Esclarmonde and Thaïs - what spellbinding, glorious, operas they are!

mjmosca

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Re: The best of Massenet?
« Reply #39 on: Saturday 20 May 2017, 12:51 »
Esclarmonde was Massenet's own personal favorite of his works (from one of the books) and I find it captivating. Another superb- and full blooded work is Herodiade. There was an extraordinary recording of highlights with an all-star French cast under Georges Pretre that I have on vinyl- Crespin, Gorr, Lance (not French by birth, but by style!) Dens, and Mars from about 1963- both Crespin and Gorr are stupendous! Massenet was also such a master of orchestration too- it almost goes unnoticed it is so perfect. Seems that both Massenet and Saint-Saens moved toward greater refinements and subtleties in their later operas (and works in general). 

Lately, I have been listening to various recordings of one of Massenet's most famous arias- "Ah! fuyez douce image" - which is such a marvel as the music perfectly illuminates the conflicting emotions of the character. As usual- Georges Thill remains the ideal standard.

Alan Howe

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Re: The best of Massenet?
« Reply #40 on: Saturday 20 May 2017, 18:16 »
Yes, Thill was pretty well hors concours. I don't think there's been a French lyric-dramatic tenor to touch him in the past 50-60 years. The early Alagna was superb, but he has - very unwisely - taken on repertoire too heavy for him and ruined his voice. Gedda was also very good, but not sufficiently robust of voice to do do justice to Massenet's writing.

Gareth Vaughan

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Re: The best of Massenet?
« Reply #41 on: Saturday 20 May 2017, 19:23 »
Quote
The early Alagna was superb, but he has - very unwisely - taken on repertoire too heavy for him and ruined his voice.

I couldn't agree more. A stunningly beautiful instrument destroyed. (I heard from a number of singers who knew him that he was quite an arrogant young man who declined to take advice. A great shame.)

Alan Howe

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Re: The best of Massenet?
« Reply #42 on: Saturday 20 May 2017, 20:59 »
I rather forgot Albert Lance (b. Lancelot Albert Ingram in Australia) and Guy Chauvet when mentioning good, strong tenors singing in the French tradition. They'd be world stars today...

FBerwald

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Re: The best of Massenet?
« Reply #43 on: Sunday 21 May 2017, 07:17 »
Since I'm not very familiar with the Opera world my post is more in the form of a question - As I said I'm not very familiar with the world of opera but I do listen to Lieder and standalone arias once in a while and chanced upon the Gérard Souzay singing some Fauré and Hahn. I was blown away by his delicacy, tone colour and amazing control of dynamics. How is his Massenet. I hope to listen to more and more opera in the future... with some guidance from friends here of course!

Alan Howe

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Re: The best of Massenet?
« Reply #44 on: Sunday 21 May 2017, 08:43 »
Souzay was fabulous in everything. A truly great singer and artist. He features in the classic Sills/Gedda Manon conducted by Rudel, but I'm not sure how easily available that set is these days.