Berlioz: La damnation de Faust

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

WORKS: La damnation de Faust
PERFORMER: Consuelo Rubio (mezzo-soprano), Richard Verreau (tenor), Michel Roux (baritone), Pierre Mollet (bass)Choeur Elisabeth Brasseur, RTF Children’s Choir, Orchestre Lamoureux/Igor Markevitch
CATALOGUE NO: 437 931-2 ADD (1958)
I recall thrilling to Markevitch’s Damnation de Faust, Grand prix du disque in 1960, when its only rival was a solid Boston performance by Munch. Rhythms buzz, drunken students reel, demons exult: there are more refined versions, notably Davis’s, but none more exciting. Verreau is as good as any recorded Faust, Roux a fine Mephistopheles. Markevitch lacks patience in tender music, and dislikes diminuendos; Consuelo Rubio is too matriarchal for Marguerite. One of three nasty cuts makes nonsense of the bewitching Menuet des follets, which is taken too fast. A bargain nevertheless, worth the price for real French bassoons. Julian Rushton