One of the shining lights among Women Composers in early 20th Century France.
Click on the link here for Audio Player – Desportes: Two Serenades for Three Trombones and Tuba – ORTF – circa 1953 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection
Yvonne Desportes is probably not a name very well known outside of French music circles. Born in 1907 and passing away in Paris in 1993, Desportes was a prolific composer as well as writer and a well respected professor at the Paris Conservatory. Even with an impressive catalog of over 500 works, including operas, chamber and symphonic works, she is very seldom performed these days, and aside from her textbooks, she is almost completely forgotten.
This weekend it’s Two Serenades for Three Trombones and Tuba, featuring members of the Orchestre National Trombone section with Paul Bernard on Tuba. Since it’s a radio recital from the ORTF, it’s a best guess estimate this broadcast was from 1953. In any event, it is highly unlikely this recording has seen the light of day since it first aired.
A rarity and an unjustified neglect. Seems to go hand in hand.
One of the true gifts of the concert stage.
Click on the link here for Audio Player – Orchestre National de l’ORTF, conducted by Jean Martinon with Vlado Perlemuter, piano – Recorded March 22, 1956 – Radio France/INA Archives
Even though this year has been filled with great festivals and great artists, the real gems of this summer season of radio listening have to be the series which Radio France Musique produced between July and August of this year, featuring Orchestre National de l’ORTF in some classic and milestone performances by some of the greatest musicians of the 20th century.
This week’s concert once again features the legendary conductor Jean Martinon, joined by pianist Vlado Perlemuter in music of Beethoven and Stravinsky. It was originally recorded by ORTF on March 22, 1956 and has been preserved by that keeper of national treasures INA in Paris.
Since the concert is somewhat short, it’s all on one player. And this is what’s on it.
1.Ludwig van BEETHOVEN
Concerto n°3 en ut mineur pour piano et orchestre op.37
Vlado Perlemuter, piano
Orchestre national de l’ORTF, dir. Jean Martinon
2. Igor STRAVINSKY
Le sacre du printemps
Orchestre national de l’ORTF, dir. Jean Martinon
(Archive INA /Enreg : 22/03/1956)
As far as I can tell, the series has concluded. But it’s only hoped it’s a lull before more are broadcast. France Musique and INA are doing a service that has presented art in the best and most enduring possible light. I only wish everybody got into it. These broadcasts are essential listening.
One of the cornerstones of French musical life in the 1950s.
Click on the link here for Audio Player – Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire, Conducted by André Cluytens – Henriette Faure, piano – Besançon Festival – Sept. 1951 – ORTF broadcast – Gordon Skene Sound Collection
Something familiar tonight, but rare nonetheless. A performance recorded during the 1951 Besançon Festival featuring l’Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire, conducted by the legendary André Cluytens and featuring another noted, but almost forgotten figure, pianist Henriette Faure in a performance of the Ravel Piano Concert for the Left Hand.
What is significant about this performance is Faure was an early champion of the music of Maurice Ravel, and one of the first to perform his works in public. Most of her active recording was done in the 1930s to 1950s, but even then her output wasn’t huge. Her recordings of Ravel’s music are considered virtually definitive because of her close association with the composer. And apparently, those original lp’s are going for ridiculous sums of money in collectors circles.
This performance comes from the same concert as the Schmitt I posted a few weeks ago. So we’re inching closer to a complete concert at some point.
In any event, I don’t believe this performance has been issued in any form, and what became of the masters of this concert is anyone’s guess.
Enjoy and excuse the odd tick, pop and garble. At 62, this recording is doing better than a lot of people.
Mali’s Desert Bluesmen.
Click on the link here for Audio Player – Terakaft – In Concert At FIP studios – April 4, 2013 – Radio France/FIP
You’ve probably heard about Terakaft this year. Described as the next generation of Mali‘s Desert Bluesmen, they did a small tour of the U.S. earlier this year, playing SXSW and becoming a surprise hit in the process. They are also coming back to the U.S., with gigs in Los Angeles (at the El Rey Theater) in November and several other cities.
But what you’ve most likely heard about Terakaft is they have been banned in their native Azawad, Mali. The members of the group are currently living in exile in Algeria. With the new, insane fundamentalist regime having taken over, they have decided all Western and non-devotional music be outlawed and Militants have been spotted burning amplifiers, instruments and threatening musicians with amputation and death if they continue doing what they love. And you think getting a band together is tough here . . . . .
Needless to say, the world (at least the sane, rational part of it) has come to the rescue by shedding light on this lunacy. And in the process, has made some startling discoveries from a world of music a lot aren’t all that familiar with.
Terakaft are an amazing group of talented musicians. To say they are virtuoso guitarists is an understatement. They play an intoxicating mixture of East and West and all with such subtle, effortless grace and such avoidance of theatrics that their performances are mesmerizing.
This concert, recorded by Radio France – FIP and performed at FIP studios’ auditorium to a sold-out crowd, gives ample evidence of how truly unique this group is. It was recorded on April 4th of this year.
They are coming to L.A. in November. Get tickets now. Check their tour schedule and see if they are playing where you are. See them and experience them.
Despite all the insanity going on in the world – there are parts that are magnificent. Celebrate those.
Dudamel Mania continues.
Click on the link here for Audio Player – Orchestre National de Radio France, Conducted by Gustavo Dudamel – April 13, 2012 – RFI France Musique – Part 1
Click on the link here for Audio Player – Orchestre National de Radio France, Conducted by Gustavo Dudamel – April 13, 2012 – RFI France Musique – Part 2
Over to Paris this week for a concert (recorded last year) by Orchestre National de Radio France, guest conducted by none other than Gustavo Dudamel. This was the first tof two concerts covering the complete Brahms Symphony cycle. And this week’s concert is the first one, from April 13, 2012, featuring Brahms Symphony Number 3 and Symphony Number 1 (in that order).
Needless to say, the audience is thrilled and Dudamel turns in his customary revelatory performance. I don’t think there’s a superlative that hasn’t been used to describe him yet, and suffice to say the orchestra gives him their all. Even the engineers turn in a great performance – not that they usually don’t. The concerts from Radio France Musique are some of the best sounding in the world – hands down.
So it’s a good time all around.
The concert is broken up between two players because some people prefer hearing their symphonies one at a time (I can’t blame you).
So here goes:
Top Player – Brahms: Symphony Number 3
Bottom Player – Brahms: Symphony Number 1
Announcements are in French, and I swear I heard the announcer take a breath . . .once.
Performed often during the first 40 years of the 20th century. After that . . .
Click on the link here for Audio Player – Schmitt: La Tragèdie de Salomè – Paris Conservatory Orchestra, Andrè Cluytens, cond. 1950 Besancon Festival – ORTF – Gordon Skene Sound Collection
The music of Florent Schmitt this weekend. A popular figure during the first four decades of the 20th Century, Florent Schmitt fell into obscurity shortly after his death in 1958. A composer of note during the time, but also a critic who made more than the usual number of enemies, his vocal indiscretions once prompted a publisher to refer to Schmitt as “an irresponsible lunatic”. And that may have had some bearing on his neglect in later years.
Schmitt wrote some 138 pieces during his lifetime, composing in most every style except for Opera. During the 1990s, his music started getting a revival of sorts, with a number of his unpublished works being discovered and played for the first time.
This weekend it’s a live performance of one of his better known works, “La Tragèdie de Salomè as played by the Paris Conservatory Orchestra conducted by the legendary Andrè Cluytens during the 1950 Besançon Festival and recorded by the ORTF (Paris Radio).
Cluytens recorded this work commercially, but this performance hasn’t been issued. This is a repost of one I did in June of last year of the same work, but a better transfer and a revised date of performance.
Enjoy if you haven’t heard it yet. Enjoy if you have heard it, but wanted it to sound better.
The Sound of Mali is coming to the States shortly.
Click on the link here for Audio Player – Rokia Traoré in concert at Les Suds á Arles – July 11, 2013 – RFI
Malian singer-songwriter Rokia Traoré is much better known throughout Europe and Africa than she is in the U.S. – her last visit to the states was in 2004. But that’s about to change.
Considered one of the “best new Artists” to come out of Africa in recent years, Rokia Traoré has been exploring new ground and continuing to receive high praise from critics and audiences alike.
Ever since her “African Discovery” award by Radio France International (a huge supporter of hers since Day-One), in 1997, she has been recognized throughout Europe as a potent and vital artist. And further evidence Africa is still a very exciting and largely undiscovered continent (by the U.S.) of rich musical heritage. That there have attempts to ban just the type of music Rokia Traoré does on the basis of idiotic fundamentalist edicts, makes her cause and her artistry that much more compelling. When will the ever understand God is in the notes . . . .?
As for her upcoming appearances in the U.S. (she’s slated to perform in Los Angeles in November), they are part of a tour to promote her latest album Beautiful Africa, which was released in March of this year. Festival goers at the recent Glastonbury Feast got the chance to see her in concert. And it’s another indication her message and her music are getting out to the world.
So with that, here is a concert she did at the 2013 Les Suds á Arles Festival in France on July 11 of this year.
Clocking in at just under 90 minutes, towards the end there is a staggering version of Gloomy Sunday, which I haven’t heard in a very long time and have never heard quite like this.
We’re all very lucky