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Not just another 'Giselle'
Good to hear 'that old French sound' again in this - one of the cornerstones of the 19th Century French Ballet tradition - an idiomatic recording conducted by one of the stalwarts of the whole French orchestral repertoire, Jean Martinon. Piquant woodwinds, rasping brass (with fabulous euphonium-like French Horns) and warm strings. Just taking two alternatives also on the Decca label alone (there are several others from elsewhere and I'm not counting DVD releases) the performance is both tuneful and approachable and compares very favourably to Karajan and Bonynge, both of whom have world class orchestras at their disposal; I am unlikely in the future to be turning to either of those in preference over this, despite their undeniable strengths. I had downloaded Decca's own release of Giselle with Martinon, but was disappointed to note (as is sadly often the case with speedily-prepared re-issue downloads) that one of the tracks, 'Retour des Vendangeurs', had been truncated to exclude the tail end of a note, not to mention its subsequent natural fade into the chosen recorded acoustic setting. And nor was this just a misplaced track marker with the music going over onto the following track: the chord was simply cut dead. Thankfully not so here, and so it is this carefully prepared extremely high spec. release, derived from reel-to-reel tape that I will refer to over all other versions, even allowing for the fact that this would be one generation removed from Decca's own mastertapes. Reel to reel had its own sound characteristic: ultra transparent textures and yet the warmth of many an analogue era stereo production. The present release is fully tracked for easy access to any of the dances and, quite rightly, the natural (but not obtrusive in any way) tape 'hiss' continues between tracks so as not to impose an unnatural absolute silence on the listener. Thoroughly recommended.
Super sound, turgid music
Well, the title says it all, surely? You want more?
This is a marvellous performance of very fine music, remastered beautifully.
Title: Adam: Giselle
Artist(s): Jean Martinon & The Paris Conservatoire Orchestra
Source used for Transfer: Transferred from a 15 ips 2-track tape
Recording Info: Recorded by Decca 5-7 Nov 1958
Engineer: Kenneth Wilkinson
Producer: Ray Minshull
Venue: La Maison de la Chimie, Paris
1 Act 1 - Introduction 0:21
2 Act 1 - No. 1 Les Vendangeurs 0:47
3 Act 1 - No. 2 Entrée du Prince 0:49
4 Act 1 - No. 3 Loys seul - Entrée de Giselle 4:36
5 Act 1 - No. 4 Retour des Vendangeurs - No. 4(bis) Valse 2:35
6 Act 1 - No. 5 Pas de Deux 1:25
7 Act 1 - No.5b. La Chasse 2:10
8 Act 1 - No.6 Scène d'Hilarion 0:48
9 Act 1 - No.7 Marche des vignerons 1:31
10 Act 1 - No. 8 Galop 1:54
11 Act 1 - No. 8(bis) Final 6:40
12 Act 2 - No. 9 Introduction (La halte des chasseurs) 2:02
13 Act 2 - No.10 Apparition et scène de Myrtha 5:31
14 Act 2 - No.11. Apparition de Giselle 0:53
15 Act 2 - No.12 (Allegro moderato) 0:40
16 Act 2 - No.13 Entreé de Loys et Wilfrede 5:17
17 Act 2 - No.14 Scène des Wilis 1:28
18 Act 2 - No.15 Grand pas de deux 5:06
19 Act 2 - No. 16 Final 2:35