Classical The best music site on the web there is where you can read about and listen to blues, jazz, classical music and much more. This is your ultimate music resource. Tons of albums can be found within. http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/5027.html Sun, 21 Apr 2024 12:21:19 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Étienne Nicolas Méhul - Stratonice (1996) http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/5027-mehul-etienne-nicolas/25016-etienne-nicolas-mehul-stratonice-1996.html http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/5027-mehul-etienne-nicolas/25016-etienne-nicolas-mehul-stratonice-1996.html Étienne Nicolas Méhul - Stratonice (1996)

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1 Overture	6:25 	
2 "Ciel! ne sois point inexorable" [Chorus]	2:30 	
3 "Mes amis, retenez vos plaintes" [Antiochus]	0:31 	
4 "Ciel! ne sois point inexorable" [Chorus]	1:13 	
5 "J'échappe enfin à leur foule importune" [Antiochus]	0:22 	
6 "Insensé, je forme des souhaits" [Antiochus]	8:39 	
7 "Mon cher Antiochus" [Séleucus, Antiochus]	2:19 	
8 "Quelle funeste envie!" [Séleucus] "Ah! gardez vos trésors" [Antiochus]	4:49 	
9 "A mes conseils, unissez votre voix" [Séleucus, Stratonice, Antiochus]
 "Seigneur, Erasistrate arrive en ce moment" [Séleucus, Stratonice, Antiochus, A Guard]	2:06 	
10 "Seigneur, prenez soin de vos jours" [Stratonice, Antiochus]	1:17 	
11 "Qu'ai-je entendu?" [Antiochus, Erasistrate]	2:02 	
12 "Parlez. Achevez de m'apprendre" [Erasistrate, Antiochus]	5:25 	
13 "Je ne puis résister à mon impatience" [Séleucus, Erasistrate, Antiochus]	4:10 	
14 "Je tremble, mon coeur palpite" [Stratonice, Erasistrate, Antiochus, Séleucus]	3:16 	
15 "Seigneur, allez au temple" [Erasistrate, Séleucus, Stratonice]	1:03 	
16 "Seigneur, on croit que ma présence" [Stratonice, Antiochus]	2:10 	
17: "Eh! bien, Seigneur, que faut-il que j'espère" [Erasistrate, Stratonice, Antiochus]
 "Ils s'aiment" [Erasistrate]	2:30 	
18 "Sur le sort de son fils" [Erasistrate]	4:52 	
19 "Le Roi s'avance, il faut dissimuler" [Erasistrate, Séleucus]	4:25 	
20 "Vous mon fils, approchez" [Séleucus, Stratonice, Antiochus, Erasistrate]	2:00 	
21 "O mon fils, quel moment pour moi!" [Séleucus, Stratonice, Antiochus, Erasistrate, Chorus]	2:29 

Stratonice - Patricia Petibon (Soprano)
Antiochus - Yann Beuron (Tenor)
Seleucus - Etienne Lescroart (Tenor)
Erasistrate - Karl Daymond (Baritone)
Cappella Coloniensis
William Christie - conductor

 

In 1816, the great German writer and music critic E.T.A. Hoffmann wrote of Mehul's operas: "Serious, dignified, harmonically rich and thoughtfully fashioned, they should not be allowed to disappear from the stage". Sadly however, Hoffmann's advice was not followed in the twentieth century and nowadays they have vanished almost completely, despite being admired by (and influencing) Beethoven, Wagner, Berlioz and Weber. French opera in general has been rather neglected on disc compared to its German and Italian counterparts, and whole areas have been left to gather dust on the shelves. The era between the retirement of Gluck and the emergence of Berlioz (roughly 1780 - 1825) has been particularly badly ignored, really only represented in the mainstream repertoire by Cherubini's "Medee" in a mangled Italian version which attempts to turn it into a bel canto opera. Now, with the appearance of "Stratonice", Francophiles at last have the chance to hear a real rarity.

Etienne Nicolas Mehul, along with his friend Luigi Cherubini, was the most important French composer of the Revolutionary era. "Stratonice", a one-act work from 1792, is a short example of the most popular genre of the time, 'opera comique' (though this work is not in the least bit comic - the phrase simply means it has spoken dialogue, and rather a lot of it, between the arias). The story, set in ancient Syria, concerns Prince Antiochus, who is secretly in love with his father the king's, fiancee, Stratonice. The king can't understand why his son is pining away but the canny doctor, Erasistratus, finds out the truth and everything is resolved happily. Mehul was a pupil of Gluck and the older composer's influence clearly shows in the cool, classical chorus which opens the work. But he was also the first composer to be described as a Romantic and his music is often a lot less balanced and more wayward and stormy than Gluck's, as can be heard in the next piece, Antiochus's tortured monologue, where the music follows the prince's changing moods from resignation to suicidal despair. The most impressive movement is a big ensemble (praised by Berlioz), some 15 minutes long, which starts as a duet, then builds to a trio, ending up as a quartet between all four soloists. Mehul's orchestration was famous for its originality and examples of his imaginative scoring are not hard to find- the orchestra is cut down to just the cellos for the trio in the ensemble; the dark, brooding woodwind in the middle section of Antiochus's monologue sounds almost like Rameau but the rushing strings which precede it look forward almost thirty years to "Der Freischuetz". In fact, Mehul had a big influence on Weber and the early Berlioz and it's intriguing to come across those influences here.

So all in all, a fascinating discovery by a sadly neglected composer who deserves to be heard more (his symphonies, which have been recorded by several conductors, are also well worth seeking out). Christie conducts a punchy period ensemble and the cast is young and fresh (though the two tenors, father and son, sound confusingly alike). Patricia Petibon and Yann Beuron are now rising stars (Beuron was particularly good in Minkowski's "Iphigenie en Tauride" last year). Finally, the packaging, with its cover by Ingres apparently inspired by this very opera, is some of the most beautiful I have ever come across. Recommended to adventurous lovers of French or early Romantic opera. ---Kicek&Brys, amazon.com

 

Stratonice is a one-act opera-comique, on a serious, classical theme with a subject taken from antiquity. It was a huge success at its premiere, and a favorite of Cherubini and Berlioz. The story of Stratonice comes from the writings of Lucien. A popular legend in France, it was turned into a variety of theatrical genres, some of them comic, but many serious. Among the serious works in the French tradition are plays by Corneille, Quinault, and de Brosse. It is the serious traditions which Hoffman and Mehul followed. Hoffman composed a libretto of incomparable literary worth, giving Mehul the perfect vehicle from which to compose a moving, passionate opera with no extra melodramatic action. It is a classical libretto, with heroic alexandrine verse and with the unities of time, place, and action observed. The life of the story stems from the profound character development given each of the players, their motivations, loves, and passions. At the premiere, the libretto was lauded by French critics because Hoffman had created a poetic play on a known story that kept the audience's interest throughout.

The opening chorus derives from the traditions of Gluck. It sets the mood with stark orchestrations and a melancholic use of the semi-tone and diminished seventh chord. The vocal writing is simple, but with a rich harmonic vocabulary and an expressive use of timbres. The sombre chorus leads into an opening soliloquy for Prince Antiochus, who is filled with unbridled despair, and is physically dying from emotional tortures. In the original legend, the conflict is oedipal, for Stratonice is Seleucus' wife, not just his fiancée. Antiochus's aria is a masterpiece of passionate conflict. Its opening is introduced by the stark timbres of four horns, a cello, and a bass. The words "death will close my eyes" is set at the lowest portion of Antiochus's range, in unison with the other instruments. Daring dissonance and an intense, declamatory style give this piece a unique character, and Mehul adapts the form to fit the emotions of the verse.

This opera belongs to a new category of opera-comiques that were based on serious subject matter. There is dialogue between the musical numbers, rather than through-composed recitatif, but everything else about the opera's construction follows the traditions of serious opera. Each of the arias is preceded by an expressive recitatif which sets up the motivation for the music. The arias are intensely melodic and their lyricism has been compared to that of Sacchini, a famous Italian composer of the day. Mehul adapted the lyrical style of the Italians to express the tender emotions of a concerned father, and the noble emotions of Doctor Erasistrate, even using Italian appoggiaturas and ornamentation. However the complexity of the textures beneath the vocal writing is Mehul's own. He believed that all musical elements were important to dramatic expressiveness, and had experimented extensively in earlier works. In this opera he makes use of his discoveries to create a compact drama.

The most renowned composition of Stratonice is the quartet, "Parlez, parlez," which uses a modified sonata form in the first half, and includes a complete development section and an orchestral interlude. The piece begins as a duo, becomes a trio, and finally a quartet. Each of the characters has solo music at their entrance, and dialogue creates dramatic momentum. This is one piece whose origins are not found in serious opera. The dramatic function of this ensemble is closely allied to the vocal ensembles of the Comédie-Italienne, in which dynamic interactive music for multiple characters heightens the perception of action in a work. ---Rita Laurance, allmusic.com

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Mehul Etienne-Nicolas Sun, 24 Mar 2019 14:17:52 +0000
Etienne-Nicolas Mehul – Uthal (2015) http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/5027-mehul-etienne-nicolas/18765-etienne-nicolas-mehul-uthal-2015.html http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/5027-mehul-etienne-nicolas/18765-etienne-nicolas-mehul-uthal-2015.html Etienne-Nicolas Mehul – Uthal (2015)

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1. Uthal

Karine Deshayes, mezzo-soprano (Malvina)
Reinoud Van Mechelen, haute-contre (Premier Barde)
Yann Beuron, tenor (Uthal)
Sébastien Droy, tenor (Ullin)
Artavazd Sargsyan, tenor (Deuxième Barde)
Jean-Sébastien Bou, baritone (Larmor)
Philippe-Nicolas Martin, baritone (Le Chef des Bardes, Troisième Barde)
Jacques-Greg Belobo, bass (Quatrième Barde)

Choeur de Chambre de Namur
Les Talens Lyriques
Christophe Rousset – conductor

May 30, 2015, Opéra Royal, Versailles

 

Opera in one act. Libretto by Jacques Maximilien Benjamin Bins de Saint-Victor, loosely based on the poem Berrathon, the final poem in the first volume of James Macpherson’s Ossian poems. First performed at the Opéra Comique in Paris on 17 May 1806.

The story of the opera is set at night in a forest somewhere on the west coast of Scotland; it tells of King Uthal, who has seized the throne by deposing his father-in-law Larmor, Chief of Dunthalmor. Uthal’s wife, Malvina, comforts her father, but is horrified to hear that Larmor has summoned help from Fingal, king of neighbouring Morvern; she still loves Uthal, and fears for his safety. Larmor’s loyal bard Ullin, who had been sent to tell Fingal of the situation, returns to announce that Fingal’s men are close and ready to fight to restore Larmor to the throne. Ullin advises a night of rest before the battle, and he and his bards sing the soldiers to sleep. Malvina, however, is too disturbed by her conflicting loyalties to sleep – she runs out into the forest in her distress.

Uthal wanders off and, alone in the forest, muses on his situation. He recalls his past happiness with Malvina and when she comes upon him, she does not recognise him, armed and in the darkness, and she pleads with him to help her. They eventually recognise one another and declare their love, and Malvina begs him to make peace with Larmor – he asks her to come away with him, but she refuses to abandon her father, she loves them both. Larmor and Ullin are both wandering in the forest as well, and they have heard Uthal and Malvina’s conversation and come to join them and, face to face, Larmor and Uthal exchange accusations. Uthal is nor prepared to give up the throne so he tells Malvina that she must choose between them and she reluctantly decides that it is her greater moral duty to stand by her father. Battle is inevitable, and the bards launch into an anthem of war. Once the warriors have left, Malvina asks the bards to comfort her and they sing the story of Hidallon, a son who rises against his father but is eventually forgiven.

A battle ensues: eventually Larmor returns from the battle and announces that he has won and that Uthal has been taken prisoner. Uthal is brought in and Malvina pleads for his life but he scorns her and demands to be executed rather than live as a defeated captive. Larmor announces that Uthal is to be spared, but must go into exile, and when Malvina says that she will join him, Uthal is moved by her love, but rejects her offer. She says that she cannot live without her husband, and Uthal admits that her nobility of spirit has subdued his pride and he humbly asks Larmor’s forgiveness for his rebellion. Larmor too is moved, and says that he will match his daughter’s generosity – he pardons Uthal, and they all live happily ever after. --- operastory.co.uk

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Mehul Etienne-Nicolas Sun, 15 Nov 2015 16:57:43 +0000
Mehul - Joseph In Aegypten (German) [1955] http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/5027-mehul-etienne-nicolas/20778-mehul-joseph-in-aegyptengerman-1955.html http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/classical/5027-mehul-etienne-nicolas/20778-mehul-joseph-in-aegyptengerman-1955.html Mehul - Joseph In Aegypten (German) [1955]

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1. Ouverture
Erster Akt
2. Recitav & Arie: Ach mit lacheln umsonst huldvoll des Konigs Blicke
3. Romanze: Ich war Jungling noch und unerfahren
4. Ensemble: Nein, nein, noch ist Gott nicht versohnet
5. Finale: Ha! Seine Nah ist furchterlich
Zweiter Akt
6. Entr’Akt
7. Lobgesang: Gott Israels!
8. Romanze: Ach, musste der Tod we guns nehmen
9. Terzett: Musik hor ich fernher erschallen
10. Finale: Joseph, mein Sohn dich vergisst nie mein Herz
11. So kommt, folgt mir beide
Dritter Akt
12. Lobfesang: Lobt den Herrn mit Sang und Saitenklang
13. Duett: Du bist die Schutzer deines Vaters
14. Finale: Diese Schlangenbrut, melde sie!

Jakob -Alexander Welitsch
Joseph- Libero de Luca
Josephs Bruder Simeon - Horst Gunter
Benjamin - Ursula Zollenkopf
Ruben - Rolf Kunz Naphtali - Gunter
Genersch Utobal, Josephs Vertrauter und
Untergebener - Arnold van Mill

Sinfonie-Orchester und Chor des NWDR
Wilhelm Schuchter  - conductor

Hamburg, 1955

 

One of the most celebrated of Mehul's operas, Joseph premiered at Paris' Opéra-Comique on February 17, 1807 to rave reviews. Its libretto is based on the biblical story of Joseph; the opera opens in Egypt, after he has already become a prominent minister of that country. Baour-Lormian had recently produced a setting of the same story in which amorous intrigues were grafted onto the plot in order to overcome a perceived dullness to the story; Alexandre Duval insisted that an operatic libretto based on the story could be written that was both full of dramatic power and true to the content of the original. Although originally skeptical, Mehul agreed to set Duval's libretto to music.

Although largely unknown to modern audiences, Joseph was a favorite with such composers as Weber, Berlioz, Cherubini, and Wagner, who considered Mehul a mentor and pioneer in the use of thematic transformation; the overture to Joseph and the "Dieu d'Israel" showcase Mehul's skillful manipulation of melodic ideas; the composer used modal elements in the opera to create an atmosphere of antiquity. All of the characters in the story are written for male voice, giving the score a robust, occasionally dark sound quality. The one exception is the role of the youngest brother, Benjamin (scored for soprano), who has taken Joseph's favored place in his father's heart after the latter's supposed death. The youngest son and old, blind father, are always together; the contrast in their vocal timbres is expressive of that tender bond.

At the time of Joseph's composition, Napoleon and his regime preferred operas that served as propaganda for his government, and especially liked libretti that used heroic Greek and Roman themes from antiquity. However Joseph, with its simple Old Testament story of betrayal and forgiveness, was extremely successful and well liked; in fact, the French National Institute awarded Mehul a prize -- one designated by the Emperor himself -- specifically for the work.

 

Méhul's most important contribution to music was his operas. He led the generation of composers who emerged in France in the 1790s, which included his friend and rival Luigi Cherubini and his outright enemy Jean-François Le Sueur . Méhul followed the example of the operas which Gluck had written for Paris in the 1770s and applied Gluck's "reforms" to opéra comique (a genre which mixed music with spoken dialogue and was not necessarily at all "comic" in mood). But he pushed music in a more Romantic direction, showing an increased use of dissonance and an interest in psychological states such as anger and jealousy, thus foreshadowing later Romantic composers such as Weber and Berlioz. Indeed, Méhul was the very first composer to be styled a Romantic; a critic used the term in La chronique de Paris on 1 April 1793 when reviewing Méhul's Le jeune sage et le vieux fou Méhul's main musical concern was that everything should serve to increase the dramatic impact. As his admirer Berlioz wrote: was fully convinced that in truly dramatic music, when the importance of the situation deserves the sacrifice, the composer should not hesitate as between a pretty musical effect that is foreign to the scenic or dramatic character, and a series of accents that are true but do not yield any surface pleasure. He was convinced that musical expressiveness is a lovely flower, delicate and rare, of exquisite fragrance, which does not bloom without culture, and which a breath can wither; that it does not dwell in melody alone, but that everything concurs either to create or destroy it – melody, harmony, modulation, rhythm, instrumentation, the choice of deep or high registers for the voices or instruments, a quick or slow tempo, and the several degrees of volume in the sound emitted. ---theinfolist.com

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Mehul Etienne-Nicolas Tue, 06 Dec 2016 13:59:20 +0000