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Courbet: Les Musiques
Chopin, Wagner, Debussy
Courbet: Les Musiques
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Classical
 
This 2CD set is being released to mark a major exhibition in Paris in autumn of 2008 of the work of the great French painter Gustave Courbet. The music has been chosen to reflect the artists astonishing range of subjects, ...  more »

      
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Album Description
This 2CD set is being released to mark a major exhibition in Paris in autumn of 2008 of the work of the great French painter Gustave Courbet. The music has been chosen to reflect the artists astonishing range of subjects, styles, and formats, and the composers featured include Debussy, Bizet, Wagner and Berlioz.
 

CD Reviews

A Poorly Thought-Out Collection of Unrelated Music
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 03/05/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)

"This 2 CD set represents the effort by the Naïve label to put together a compilation of works from their back-catalog that are otherwise not particularly related to each other, and asserting that they are related in that they call up associations with the paintings of the great Romantic French painter, Gustave Courbet. These associations are, to say the least, fanciful and in some instances non-existent. Still, the performances of these disparate pieces, if taken simply for what they are, are generally acceptable. Typical components of the collection are a couple of Chopin preludes played by the outstanding pianist Grigory Sokolov, a couple of movements of Berlioz's 'Symphonie fantastique' (one each on each of the two CDs, separated from each other by ten or more intervening selections), the funeral march from Mahler's Fifth Symphony, an excerpt from the Liszt piano sonata (nicely played by Huseyin Sermet), an aria from 'Carmen', a song by Chausson (sung gorgeously by Marie-Nicole Lemieux), a scene from Debussy's 'Pelléas et Mélisande', the allegro from Beethoven's Hammerklavier sonata (played fabulously by the rising young French pianist François-Frédéric Guy), and so on and so on.

There is a fatuous essay in the booklet purporting to show relationships between these selections and various facets of Courbet's life and works. For instance, since Courbet painted some marvelous portraits of women, several of the works presented here (the Carmen aria, Debussy's 'sultry' Syrinx for solo flute, etc.) represent the central concept of 'Woman.' Twaddle!

There is, I must say, a gorgeous reproduction of Courbet's striking painting of a angst-ridden young man tearing his hair (actually, the artist himself), 'Le désespéré' ('The Desperate One'). Amazing how much he looks like Johnny Depp! And as far as they go, the performances here are decent enough, particularly at the budget price of two CDs for the price of one full-price CD. Still, I can only imagine that this will appeal to a limited audience.

Scott Morrison"