Jolivet: Cello Concerto No. 1; Cello Concerto No. 2; Trumpet Concerto No. 1; Trumpet Concerto No. 2

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COMPOSERS: Jolivet
LABELS: Erato
WORKS: Cello Concerto No. 1; Cello Concerto No. 2; Trumpet Concerto No. 1; Trumpet Concerto No. 2
PERFORMER: Jean-Pierre Rampal (flute), Maurice André (trumpet), Jeanne Loriod (ondes martenot), Mstislav Rostropovich (cello); various orchestras and conductors
CATALOGUE NO: 2564-61320-2
Regarded as shocking in his early years, Jolivet was one of the composers who suffered for failing to follow the serial orthodoxy promulgated in monkish spirit by the post-war generation of composers. With his centenary falling in 2005, it is an opportune time to reconsider his reputation. This splendid set makes an excellent starting point, unearthing a treasure trove of jewels from Erato’s archive, in several cases featuring either the instrumentalist for whom the work was written, or its best-known advocate. There is Rostropovich’s intense account of the masterful Second Cello Concerto, Jean-Pierre Rampal’s fruity tones perfectly capturing the exoticisms of the flute works, and the inimitable Maurice André performing both trumpet concertos and two chamber works with typical élan, while Jolivet himself takes the baton for everything involving orchestra.Although the rarity of the extraordinary Concerto for ondes martenot, given here with typically refined musicality by Jeanne Loriod, may be due to the solo instrument, it is astonishing that more orchestras have not latched onto the Cinq danses rituelles, an intoxicating bravura showpiece from Jolivet’s early ‘Magic’ period. In later years he was fascinated with exploring instrumental capabilities resulting, like a latterday Vivaldi, in a remarkable series of concertos, of which eight are featured here. Ranging in spirit from gloomy to jocular, these are the works that have been too readily dismissed. Those who contend that Jolivet went off the boil in later years should listen to him pushing trumpet and percussion to their limits in the fiendish Heptade of 1970. The Suite liturgique and the delectable Poèmes intimes close the set with another, more assuaging side to his personality. Individual performances may be superseded, and some of the recordings show their age, but these discs should open many ears to an under-rated composer. Christopher Dingle

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