Fun French Collection
Michael B. Richman | Portland, Maine USA | 04/01/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This Sony Essential Classics disc collects the works of three late nineteenth and early twentieth century French composers -- Jacques Ibert, Gabriel Faure and Albert Roussel. The CD opens with Ibert's "Divertissement," a whimsical piece of incidental music from a comedy called "Un chapeau de paille d'Italie." Next is the collection's most recognizable composition, Ibert's "Escales," or as it is also known, "Ports of Call." The performance here by Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra is every bit the equal of Charles Munch's version on the magnificent RCA Living Stereo album featuring Saint-Saens' "Organ" Symphony. Next is the only non-Ormandy conducted piece, Faure's incidental piece "Pelleas et Melisande," performed by Andrew Davis and the New Philharmonia Orchestra. Faure's delightful, lyrical "Pavane" is next, and the collection concludes with Roussel's atmospheric "Bacchus et Ariane, Suite No. 2." In all, this might not be the most "Essential" of the Sony Essential Classics series, but it is an enjoyable disc all the same."
For the Ibert Ports of Call
Doug - Haydn Fan | California | 12/02/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In the opening of the Ibert Escales Ormandy and the Philadelphia string section leave all other versions in the dust, including the Boston version. The only version that remotely compares is by (Surprise!) Stowkowski, who created the Philadelphia as a major orchestra. The other performances are good, but it's the opening string passage from the Ports of Call by Ibert that has crossed over into phonograph history."