Paul Paray - The Mercury Masters: Volume 2

 
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MENDELSSOHN / SCHMITT / SIBELIUS / CHABRIER / BEETHOVEN / SUPPÉ / etc
Paul Paray - The Mercury Masters: Volume 2
Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Paul Paray, with Monique Haas (piano)

[ Mercury Living Presence Eloquence / 22 CD Box Set ]

Release Date: Friday 17 June 2022

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Under the leadership of Paul Paray, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra quickly cultivated a brilliance of attack, precision of ensemble and moulded sonority. Their signature sound was ideally suited to the dynamic profile of Mercury Living Presence recordings, especially in stereo. This edition of their recordings, remastered from the original sources by Thomas Fine and Wilma Cozart Fine, chronicles the last five years of this partnership (1958-62). This original jackets collection is presented chronologically as when first issued.

LIMITED EDITION - ONE PRESSING ONLY

For a decade in the 50s and early 60s, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra won acclaim as one of the great orchestras of the world under its music director Paul Paray. Rebuilding the orchestra almost from scratch with the help of Toscanini's former concertmaster Mischa Mischakoff, Paray quickly cultivated a brilliance of attack, a precision of ensemble and moulded sonority in the image of the French orchestras he had led before the Second World War, now boosted by a level of technical finesse which was rivalled only by George Szell in Cleveland and Fritz Reiner in Pittsburgh and Chicago.

The DSO/Paray sound was ideally suited to the dynamic profile of Mercury Living Presence recordings, especially in stereo, and the label captured them in repertoire which initially focused on Paray's strengths in French and German music, with albums of Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Chausson and Ravel which stand the test of time. However, Paray was known as a universalist, at home in any repertoire except modernism. The stereo recordings in this set, made between 1958 and his final season as music director ending in 1962, including thrilling accounts of Dvorak's 'New World' and Sibelius's Second symphonies, as well as an explosive album of Suppé overtures.

Paray had been friends and colleagues with several of the French composers featured here such as Ravel, Florent Schmitt and Jacques Ibert. Their music naturally responds to the lightness of touch, subtly restrained rubato and unsentimental phrasing which Paray brought to everything he conducted. The substantial bonus is a first-ever CD release for 'The Naked Carmen', a rock opera devised and arranged by John Corigliano and David Hess from Bizet's score, as played by the Detroit musicians and Paray with the addition of modern elements such as guitars and a rhythm section. The set concludes with Paray's sole recording for Deutsche Grammophon, a coupling of the Ravel piano concertos made in Paris with Monique Haas.
Recordings in this new set have been remastered from the original sources by Thomas Fine, son of the Mercury producer Wilma Cozart Fine and the label's chief engineer Robert Fine. They are presented in this original jacket collection as they were first issued, and accompanied by a richly illustrated booklet which contains essays on the sessions by Thomas Fine and on the DSO/Paray partnership by Peter Quantrill.

"Brilliantly and opulently set forth by Paray [La tragédie de Salome] … With his affinity for French music of all periods, Paray enhances the Suite No. 1 with an exhilarating reading." High Fidelity, April 1959 (Schmitt/Lalo)

"[Between Paray and Szell] it's a contest of perfection between two great conductors and orchestras, and technically it ends in a draw. But interpretatively, Paray wins hands down … Where Paray really glows is in the Reformation Symphony, of which he gives an unhurried and noble account." High Fidelity, August 1959 (Mendelssohn)

"Paray gives a sensible, fairly straightforward reading, yet one that has plenty of Schumannesque glow." High Fidelity, October 1959 (Schumann, Symphony No 1)

"The performance which gave me outstanding pleasure was that of the Siegfried Idyll, because it is kept moving and never sentimentalised." Gramophone, October 1959 (Wagner)

"Paray's readings are full of strength and dramatic intensity, yet every note is clear, crisp, and correct … This should be a whopper in stereo." High Fidelity, March 1960 ("Bouquet de Paray")

"Paray surely doesn't disappoint us here … The Detroit orchestra proves once again that it ranks among the best. Its playing is expert in every department, and every section is revealed in lifelike fashion by Mercury's engineers." High Fidelity, May 1960 (Sibelius)

"I've certainly never heard Chabrier's Marche Joyeuse … played with more brilliance. There is also included a Marseillaise guaranteed to whip any Frenchman into an ecstasy of patriotic fervour." High Fidelity, June 1960 ("Vive le marche!")

"Paray gets playing of great style and virtuosity; and, the most essential thing in a performance of light music, his players sound as if they are really enjoying a session away from sterner things." Gramophone, October 1960 (Lalo)

[Valses nobles et sentimentales is] a performance chock full of style and utterly convincing … L'Après-midi is almost as good in its very different way… there is so much to delight on this record." Gramophone, November 1960 (Debussy/Ravel)

"An electrifying sonic experience." High Fidelity, June 1961 (Suppé)

"Paray has always been a romantic at heart, and he plays this music with affection but without exaggeration." Gramophone, October 1961 (Wagner)

"Each work included is represented by its finest recorded performance to date. Paray obviously is engaged here in a labour of love rather than duty … the exuberant dances from Le roi malgré lui never sounded more proudly high-stepping and glittering." High Fidelity, January 1962 (Chabrier)

"Paray's stronger treatment tends to clear away the cobwebs and reveal the music in a fresher, brighter light … the stereo version, vibrant and realistic in its expansiveness and separation, goes to the very top of my list." High Fidelity, February 1962 (Franck)

"An excellent version … The virtuosity of this ensemble is rightly renowned throughout the world, as well as the spirit and the homogeneity that the great French conductor instilled in them. We will find here his eminent qualities in the service of a wise conception of the obsessions of Berlioz." Revue des deux mondes, June 1963 (Symphonie fantastique)

"In his reading [of La valse] every passage, every voice is crystal-clear; at the same time the bigger climaxes come with crashing effect. It all adds up to one of the most lucid and most exciting performances of this work I have ever heard." High Fidelity, July 1963 (Ravel/Ibert)

"Done with Paray's characteristic verve and precision, enhanced throughout by superb recording and warm acoustical ambiences. The dynamic and frequency ranges are quite extraordinary." High Fidelity, September 1963 ("Ballet Highlights")

"Paray and the DSO are at their vital best here, and the blazing recordings of their taut, rousing performances sound just as impressive today as when they first appeared." High Fidelity, March 1964 ("Heroic Overtures")

Tracks:

CD 1
FELIX MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)
A Midsummer Night's Dream - Incidental Music, Op. 61, MWV M1
Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 107, MWV N15 'Reformation'

CD 2
FLORENT SCHMITT (1870-1958)
La Tragédie de Salomé, Op. 50
RICHARD STRAUSS (1864-1949)
Dance of the Seven Veils (Salome)
ÉDOUARD LALO (1823-1892)
Namouna: Suite No. 1

CD 3
OUVERTURES FRANÇAISES
HECTOR BERLIOZ (1803-1869)
Overture: Le Carnaval romain, Op. 9
ÉDOUARD LALO (1823-1892)
Overture: Le Roi d'Ys
GEORGES BIZET (1838-1875)
Overture: La Patrie
HECTOR BERLIOZ (1803-1869)
Overture: Le Corsaire, Op. 21

CD 4
ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Symphony No. 1 in B flat major, Op. 38 'Spring'
Overture: Manfred, Op. 115

CD 5
BOUQUET DE PARAY
GIOACHINO ROSSINI (1792-1868)
Overture: William Tell
CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921)
Danse macabre, Op. 4
CARL MARIA VON WEBER (1786-1826)
Arranged by Hector Berlioz (1803-1869)
Aufforderung zum Tanze, Op. 65
Invitation to the Dance
FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886)
Mephisto Waltz No. 1, S. 110

CD 6
JEAN SIBELIUS (1865-1957)
Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 43

CD 7
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36
Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21

CD 8
VIVE LA MARCHE !
HECTOR BERLIOZ (1803-1869)
Marche hongroise (La Damnation de Faust, Op. 24)
CHARLES GOUNOD (1818-1893)
Marche funèbre d'une marionette
CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921)
Marche héroïque in E flat major, Op. 34
ROUGET DE LISLE (1760-1836)
La Marseillaise
EMMANUEL CHABRIER (1841-1894)
Joyeuse marche
CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921)
Marche militaire française (Suite algérienne in C major, Op. 60)
HECTOR BERLIOZ (1803-1869)
Marche troyenne (Les Troyens)
GIACOMO MEYERBEER (1791-1864)
Coronation March (Le Prophète)

CD 9
EMMANUEL CHABRIER (1841-1894)
España - Rhapsody for Orchestra
Suite Pastorale
Fête polonaise (Le Roi malgré lui)
Overture: Gwendoline
Danse slave (Le Roi malgré lui)

CD 10
CLAUDE DEBUSSY (1822-1890)
Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, L.86
MAURICE RAVEL (1875-1937)
Valses nobles et sentimentales, M.61
Le Tombeau de Couperin, M.68
CLAUDE DEBUSSY (1822-1890)
Petite Suite (orch. Büsser)

CD 11
JACQUES OFFENBACH (1819-1880)
Overture: La belle Hélène
Overture: Orphée aux enfers
Les Contes d'Hoffmann - Suite
DANIEL AUBER (1782-1871)
Overture: Le Cheval de bronze
Overture: Fra Diavolo
Overture: Masaniello

CD 12
RICHARD WAGNER (1813-1883)
Overture: Der fliegende Holländer
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: Suite
Wotan's Farewell and Magic Fire Music (Die Walküre)
Overture: Rienzi

CD 13
FRENCH OVERTURES
FERDINAND HÉROLD (1791-1833)
Overture: Zampa
DANIEL-FRANÇOIS AUBER (1782-1871)
Overture: Les Diamants de la couronne
AMBROISE THOMAS (1811-1896)
Overture: Mignon
Overture: Raymond
FRANÇOIS-ADRIEN BOIELDIEU (1775-1834)
Overture: La Dame blanche
ADOLPHE ADAM (1803-1856)
Overture: Si j'étais roi

CD 14
HECTOR BERLIOZ (1803-1869)
Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14

CD 15
ANTONÍN DVOƘÁK (1841-1904)
Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 9'From the New World'

CD 16
FRANZ VON SUPPÉ (1819-1895)
Overture: Die schöne Galathée
Overture: Pique Dame
Overture: Leichte Kavallerie
Overture: Dichter und Bauer
Overture: Ein Morgen, ein Mittag und ein Abend in Wien
Overture: Boccaccio, oder Der Prinz von Palermo

CD 17
CLAUDE DEBUSSY (1822-1890)
Nocturnes, L.91
MAURICE RAVEL (1822-1890)
Daphnis et Chloé - Suite No. 2, M.57b
Wayne State University Women's Glee Club Choir · Malcolm Johns, director (Debussy)

CD 18
CÉSAR FRANCK (1822-1890)
Symphony in D minor, FWV 48

CD 19
MAURICE RAVEL (1875-1937)
Rapsodie espagnole, M.54
Alborada del gracioso, M.43
Pavane pour une infante défunte, M.19
La Valse, M.72
JACQUES IBERT (1890-1962)
Escales

CD 20
BALLET - HIGHLIGHTS FROM FRENCH OPERA
CHARLES GOUNOD (1818-1893)
Faust - ballet music
CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921)
Bacchanale (Samson et Dalila)
GEORGES BIZET (1838-1875)
Danse bohème (Carmen Suite No. 2)
HECTOR BERLIOZ (1803-1869)
Chasse royale et orage - Pantomime (Les Troyens)
JULES MASSENET (1842-1912)
Overture: Phèdre
AMBROISE THOMAS (1822-1896)
Gavotte (Mignon)

DETROIT SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
PAUL PARAY

CD 21
The Naked Carmen
Electric Rock Opera
Written, arranged and produced by John Corigliano & David A. Hess
Adapted from Bizet's Carmen
John Corigliano, synthesizer
Anita Darian, kazoo
John Atkins, piano
David Hess, Melba Moore, George Turner, Robert White, William Walker, vocals
Mary Bruce And Her Starbuds
Pig Iron
DETROIT SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
PAUL PARAY

CD 22
MAURICE RAVEL (1875-1937)
Piano Concerto in G major, M.83
Piano Concerto for the Left Hand in D major, M.82
Monique Haas, piano
ORCHESTRE NATIONAL DE FRANCE
PAUL PARAY

STEREO RECORDINGS

Paul Paray - The Mercury Masters (Volumes 1 & 2)