Fauré: Pelléas et Mélisande; Prelude to Pénélope; Masques et bergamasques

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COMPOSERS: Faure
LABELS: Decca Classic Sound
ALBUM TITLE: Fauré: Pelléas et Mélisande; Prelude to Pénélope; Masques et bergamasques
WORKS: Pelléas et Mélisande; Prelude to Pénélope; Masques et bergamasques
PERFORMER: Suzanne Danco (soprano), Gérard Souzay (baritone) L’Union Chorale de la Tour de Peilz, Suisse Romande Orchestra/Ernest Ansermet
CATALOGUE NO: 452 304-2 ADD (1955/61)

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The conductor Ernest Ansermet could claim an involvement with the musical life of Paris from the earliest years of this century, so his 1955 Decca recording of Fauré’s Requiem has at least the stamp of authority. You can feel it in his bold colours, keen articulation and generally robust approach to work that many conductors choose to swathe in pastel-shaded cotton wool. You have to put up with tape hiss, warbly choristers and a soprano instead of a boy treble in the ‘Pie Jesu’, but it is worth it to avoid the lugubrious mellifluity of Ozawa.

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Christopher Lambton