Faith before Death
Jean-Baptiste Bury | France | 01/21/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"All of this record is magnificent : Markevitch knows how to enhance the modernism, vitality and poetry of this music, composed by a very young genius - who died aged 24. The best part of the record could be the Pie Jesu, composed by the very catholic Lili Boulanger just before dying : the sorrow and the terrible pain of the beginning magnificently end in a peacefull lullaby. The very little orchestra (a few strings, an organ, a harp)and the boy's voice perfectly match the intensity and humility of the prayer and make this Pie Jesu a tremendously moving music."
Mandatory purchase for the Boulanger and/or Everest collecto
Discophage | France | 09/23/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had no idea this recording was an original, Everest-originated, Seymour Solomon-produced one. I had bought it years ago, still in the LP era, on a French EMI release (which is now for sale, by the way). There wasn't much Lili Boulanger available on record back then - and there still isn't all that much. No wonder, since her output was so small: she died not yet 25.
The music? The three Psalms sound like Honegger's big choral works - not bad, considering that they was written between 1914 and 1917, when Boulanger was between 21 and 24, years before Honegger came of age - or, more likely, like Florent Schmitt's Psalm XLVII. That is: somber, dramatic, rising to powerful, heroic and grandiose climaxes verging at times on the bombastic. Vieille Prière Boudhique remins me of the orient-inspired mysticism of Charles Koechlin or the big "Jewish" choral works of Ernest Bloch, and Pie Jesu, Lili's last composition, dictated on her death-bed to her sister Nadia, sounds like Fauré's Requiem, but with more mysterious and sensuous harmonies. Tenor Michel Sénéchal was a stalwart of French opera and radio in those days. Very special timbre, nasal, almost counter-tenor like. Boy soprano Alain Fauqueur in Pie Jesu has a touching frailty, very much in situation here.
The sonics are stupendous, with great depth and just a little saturation in the louder climaxes, the liner notes are very detailed, texts of the Psalms are provided (original French and English translation). Only drawbacks: one, you won't know, from reading the info provided by the Everest reissue, who sings what. I had to go back to my LP to check. Here it is, then:
Oralia Dominguez and Raymond Amade in Du Fond de l'Abîme
Michel Sénéchal in Psalm 24 and Vieille prière boudhique
Pierre Mollet in Psalm 129
Alain Fauqueur in Pie Jesu
Second, TT is a short 47:25 (LP originated, remember).
Nevertheless, for the admirers of Lili Boulanger this is mandatory. As for the Everest collectors, they don't need my recommendation. But note that the same recording was also reissued in 1991 in EMI's L'Esprit français collection, Lili Boulanger: Du Fond De L'Abime, with the addition of Three Pieces for Violin and Piano by Menuhin and Curzon. I don't have it and don't know how the sonics compare.