Author Topic: Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842)  (Read 5852 times)

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Offline Brewski

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Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842)
« on: June 12, 2007, 01:00:13 PM »
Last Saturday night Riccardo Muti and the New York Philharmonic did a really splendid job with Cherubini's Overture in G major (1815), which I don't recall ever hearing, either live or recorded.  I thought it was highly enjoyable -- dramatic and passionate -- and anyone who likes say, Verdi's overtures would probably like it.  Muti made it sound like the best curtain-raiser in existence.

So in addition to the more popular Requiem and Symphony in D, any recommendations for a recording of this Overture?  (Since the Philharmonic had never played it before, I don't expect to hear it live again for a very long time.)  Most recordings seem to have the overture to Anacréon, rather than this one, which I don't know either.

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Offline BachQ

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Re: Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842)
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2007, 03:05:09 PM »
My favorite work of Cherubini is Marche Funèbre ......... Nice and somber ..........

Hector

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Re: Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842)
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2007, 01:31:29 AM »
Cherubini was a prolific opera composer and both Marriner (EMI) and Lawrence Foster (Claves) have recorded compilations of the overtures.

'Anacreon' was a popular concert addition at one time.

His greatest living champion seems to be Muti who has recorded a significant number of the masses, some for the first time.

Admired by Beethoven and Berlioz some of his output is touched by genius imo.

Offline JoshLilly

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Re: Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842)
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2007, 08:04:20 AM »
What I want to know, is where's a good recording of Médée? I have two complete performances and they're both old, featuring Maria Callas. The sound quality is just unbearable. I can tell I'd probably really love it if I could find something new, and good. Wait a minute, technically these are Medea, the 1809 Vienna version (translated to Italian and heavily cut by the composer himself). I'm a-hunting for either an 1802 Medea, or an original 1791 Médée recording that is good sound quality - meaning, not 1970s or before. I have 8 complete Cherubini operas, but I can't get a decent recording of his most famous. What's up with that?!

In any case, I like his 6 string quartets; they span from 1814 to 1837. My favourite is probably #2, an 1829 reduction of his one and only symphony. I have a recording with the Melos Quartet, which may be the only one. They make a good show of it, so I can recommend this recording even if there are others. Speaking of his orchestral music, Toscanini liked this symphony. It's not among my favourites, but I take it out now and then for a spin on the cpo CD. I like the orchestral climax in the first movement.

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842)
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2007, 02:10:52 PM »
......In any case, I like his 6 string quartets; they span from 1814 to 1837. My favourite is probably #2, an 1829 reduction of his one and only symphony. I have a recording with the Melos Quartet, which may be the only one......

Not sure if Bruce wanted instrumental Cherubini, but I'll second his String Quartets - own a 3-CD box set on CPO of the 6 SQs performed by Hausmusik London - excellent reviews on 'Classics Today' - also seems to be another recommended group on the BIS label (no experience to comment) -  :D

Hector

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Re: Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842)
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2007, 05:50:12 AM »
What I want to know, is where's a good recording of Médée? I have two complete performances and they're both old, featuring Maria Callas. The sound quality is just unbearable. I can tell I'd probably really love it if I could find something new, and good. Wait a minute, technically these are Medea, the 1809 Vienna version (translated to Italian and heavily cut by the composer himself). I'm a-hunting for either an 1802 Medea, or an original 1791 Médée recording that is good sound quality - meaning, not 1970s or before. I have 8 complete Cherubini operas, but I can't get a decent recording of his most famous. What's up with that?!

In any case, I like his 6 string quartets; they span from 1814 to 1837. My favourite is probably #2, an 1829 reduction of his one and only symphony. I have a recording with the Melos Quartet, which may be the only one. They make a good show of it, so I can recommend this recording even if there are others. Speaking of his orchestral music, Toscanini liked this symphony. It's not among my favourites, but I take it out now and then for a spin on the cpo CD. I like the orchestral climax in the first movement.

I do not think that there is one.

There are, as you know, a number of recordings of the Italian 'Medea' with the Lachner insertions but none of 'Medee.'

Wendell_E

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Re: Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842)
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2007, 06:49:27 AM »
I do not think that there is one.

There are, as you know, a number of recordings of the Italian 'Medea' with the Lachner insertions but none of 'Medee.'

Actually, there are two recordings of Médée (that I know of).  I got them both from Berkshire Record Outlet, and I see they still have them listed.  Phyllis Treigle (Norman's daughter) sings the title role in the Newport Classic release, and Iano Tamar in the one from Nuova Era.  I much prefer the latter, though if I had to choose just one version of the opera, I'd go with Callas, in spite of the version.  They both include texts (not sure if they both have translations), and, IIRC, they're both post-seventies, digital recordings.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2007, 06:59:21 AM by Wendell_E »

Hector

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Re: Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842)
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2007, 05:22:05 AM »
Actually, there are two recordings of Médée (that I know of).  I got them both from Berkshire Record Outlet, and I see they still have them listed.  Phyllis Treigle (Norman's daughter) sings the title role in the Newport Classic release, and Iano Tamar in the one from Nuova Era.  I much prefer the latter, though if I had to choose just one version of the opera, I'd go with Callas, in spite of the version.  They both include texts (not sure if they both have translations), and, IIRC, they're both post-seventies, digital recordings.

Are these 'bootlegs'?

I think you are right about Callas but Decca released a set in the sixties/seventies but my memory is not strong enough to recall whether it featured Milanov under Previtali or not or whether I am thinking of something completely different.

Wendell_E

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Re: Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842)
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2007, 05:27:29 AM »
Are these 'bootlegs'?

Nope, not bootlegs.  I listened to the one with Treigle last night, and it was better than I remembered, but I still remeber the one with Tamar being better. I'll have to listen to it as well, one of these days.

I've never heard it, but the only Decca recording I've ever heard of starred Gwyneth Jones, with Lorengar, Cossotto, Bruno Prevedi, and Justino Diaz, Gardelli conducting.  Recorded in 1967.

« Last Edit: June 20, 2007, 05:31:31 AM by Wendell_E »

Wendell_E

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Re: Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842)
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2007, 05:32:32 AM »
Nope, not bootlegs.  I listened to the one with Treigle last night, and it was better than I remembered, but I still remeber the one with Tamar being better. I'll have to listen to it as well, one of these days.

I've never heard it, but the only Decca recording I've ever heard of starred Gwyneth Jones, with Lorengar, Cossotto, Bruno Prevedi, and Justino Diaz, Gardelli conducting.  Recorded in 1967.



Hector

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Re: Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842)
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2007, 04:42:54 AM »
Nope, not bootlegs.  I listened to the one with Treigle last night, and it was better than I remembered, but I still remeber the one with Tamar being better. I'll have to listen to it as well, one of these days.

I've never heard it, but the only Decca recording I've ever heard of starred Gwyneth Jones, with Lorengar, Cossotto, Bruno Prevedi, and Justino Diaz, Gardelli conducting.  Recorded in 1967.



That must be the one.

One of the values of sites like this is that there is always something that one can learn and I thank you for that.

Offline Gabriel

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Re: Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842)
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2007, 01:01:57 PM »
In fact, we need a good recording of Médée. I hope René Jacobs will take some day this task, for I'm almost sure he would do something extraordinary.

Offline Gabriel

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Re: Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842)
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2009, 10:05:26 AM »
Well, this thread has been sleeping for too long...

I just wanted to warn all classicists in GMG that I saw at a store a re-release of the Cherubini string quartets played by the Melos Quartet. It was not Deutsche Grammophon who had the good idea of making this recording available again, but Brilliant instead. (I didn't buy it, but I will in a short time).

DFO

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Re: Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842)
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2009, 10:30:51 AM »
And you can try his string quintet, a forgotten work that very few knows. ???

Offline The new erato

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Re: Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842)
« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2010, 07:24:54 AM »


This have now been boxed in a 7-disc set at EMI's usual desperate price. Below 20 £.

Offline Daverz

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Re: Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842)
« Reply #15 on: July 31, 2010, 07:34:41 AM »
the Cherubini string quartets played by the Melos Quartet.

Yes, it's very good.  I'd also highly recommend this Cherubini CD:


Offline Brewski

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Re: Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842)
« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2010, 07:38:30 AM »
Just noticed that on www.medici.tv, one of the archived concerts (free, for a few weeks) is from the Festival de Saint-Denis, with Muti and the festival orchestra in Cherubini's Requiem.  Haven't heard it yet, but intend to, since I heard Muti do this piece years ago and liked it very much. 

--Bruce
"Do you realize that we're meteorites; almost as soon as we're born, we have to disappear?"

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Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY

Spineur

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Re: Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842)
« Reply #17 on: July 06, 2016, 09:34:53 AM »
No post on this Cherubini thread for 7 years  :(

Riccardo Muti recording of Lodoiska arrived in the mail yesterday


There is a more recent version by Jérémie Rohrer, but I chose Muti's version
because of his deep understanding of Opera and of Cherubini's music.

Lodoiska is the first opera composed by Cherubini in french and was created in 1791 during the heart of French revolution which Cherubini embraced with fervor.  This opera was a big hit and performed more than 200 times in Paris as well as in a number of other European cities.  This earned him fame and the admiration of Beethoven and other composers.

Loidoiska served as a blueprint for Beethoven Fidelio.

Loidoiska libretto written by Claude-Francois Fillette-Loraux is a side story from the book of a popular book "Les amours du chevalier de Faublas".

As in Fidelio, a beautiful princess (Loidoiska->Leonora) is held hostage of a ruthless polish baron (Dourlinski) who want to abuse her.  Lodoiska facing Doulinski is defiant a little like Carmen is, whereas Leonora is begging for mercy.
Lodoidka is madly in love with a young, very attractive but naive polish count, in fact slightly simple minded.
He has an uneducated servant Varbel, but really smart.  Some kind of Leporello.
The conclusion of the opera, where a bunch of Tartars free them, was less interesting I found, actually a bit corny.

This is a "heroic comedy".  The orchestra writing is a bit reminiscent of Beethoven, but not the voice treatments
which are very rhythmic with lots of trios, some duos and only a few arias.  Its much closer to Mozart style.
There is zero trace of bel-canto.  The second act is very very good especially the final trio.  I found that the last act was'nt on this same high standard.

The cast under Muti's direction is mostly italian, but they all have an excellent french diction.  A little know but fun opera

I will continue my exploration of this excellent composer and let you know.

kishnevi

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Re: Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842)
« Reply #18 on: July 07, 2016, 06:17:40 AM »
Well, this thread has been sleeping for too long...

I just wanted to warn all classicists in GMG that I saw at a store a re-release of the Cherubini string quartets played by the Melos Quartet. It was not Deutsche Grammophon who had the good idea of making this recording available again, but Brilliant instead. (I didn't buy it, but I will in a short time).

Update
Those same recordings are included in the Archiv Analogue box.



There are also recordings of the quartets by Hausmusik London on CPO and  Quartetto David on BIS, which I do not have, and this one which I do have (and feel is about equal to the Melos)


Offline André

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Re: Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842)
« Reply #19 on: March 13, 2018, 01:33:52 PM »
Copied from the opera thread - one of them anyways :

« After listening to the EMI 1957 studio recording of Medea under Serafin, I put on the 1958 Dallas performance conducted by Rescigno.



There are pros and cons in both, but by and large the slightly muffled, dim sounding, singing-to-the-back-of-the-stage Dallas show takes the cake. The pluses in the EMI production are clean, clear, undistorted sound and Callas in slightly more secure voice. The cons are the inferior cast and the unmistakable studio atmosphere.

Medea is an opera about a character that appears after more than 35 minutes of music. It’s also a work where a lot happens before the curtain rises. Therefore a proper mise en contexte is necessary to understand and appreciate the plot which, once Medea appears, contains very little real action.

Before the opera starts, Medea, daughter of the King of Colchis, a priestess with connections with the Underworld, helps the dashing Giasone and his party of 50 (she fell in love with him, you see) to steal the magic Golden Fleece and take it back to Greece on the vessel Argos (hence the name of the returning heroes: Argonauts). Medea’s brother has caught back with the elopers, but she kills him. The King of Colchis engages in hot pursuit and, to distract her avenging father, Medea dismembers her brother’s corpse and throws the limbs one by one, forcing their father-king to stop and collect them to give them a proper sepulture.

Back home, Medea and Giasone settle in matrimony and raise 2 children. But Giasone, tired of the dull life and aspiring to claim the throne of Corinth, leaves wife and children behind. He insinuates himself into King Creonte’s good graces and courts his daughter Glauce. Everybody prepares to celebrate the happy couple’s wedding. But wait ! The captain of the guards interrupts the party to tell Creonte that a woman clothed and veiled in dark garments demands to be heard. Enter Medea.

Plotwise, it’s as if one is hearing Norma straight from the second act on. There are obvious similarities with Norma, whose plot may have been more or less lifted from the Medea legend. Consider the likenesses of the characters: the scorned Medea/Norma, the philandering Giasone/Pollione, the innocent, loving Glauce/Adalgisa, King-Druid Creonte/Oroveso, the faithful servant Neris/Clotilda, the priestesses’ pair of innocent children, their murder by dagger, the demise of both heroines in a fiery conflagration...

Bearing that in mind, it’s no surprise that Callas excelled in both roles. But Medea is particularly hard to bring off. In Norma the first act establishes the character’s nobility, her conflicting emotions, and gives ample opportunity to develop a strong musical portrayal. Medea has to assert her dramatic presence from the get go and dominate the rest of the opera without interruption. Medea’s emotions evolve from noble outrage to anger, to pleading, throwing herself at her lover’s feet, then wrath and boiling rage, and culminate in murderous fury - litterally: in her last appearance Medea is flanked by the three Furies.

That dramatic escalation/descent into despair and madness makes for riveting drama. After act I, one is left with the distinct feeling that things will surely get bad. And, as acts II and III unfold, the implacable destiny of the doomed Medea is brilliantly set to music by Cherubini. One point of interest is the lyrical pause afforded by servant Neris’ beseeching aria, an oasis of calm between the surrounding turmoil and drama. That would not be lost on Illica and Puccini, who set Pinkerton’s lovely aria Addio fiorito asil right before the final scene of Butterfly’s tragic death (another scorned woman with a dagger and a little child. Fortunately she spares her bambino - evolving sensibilities maybe?).

In the Dallas performance Callas is in very good voice and does not shy from baleful tones, ugly yelps (totally in character, not out of any vocal distress) and hair-raising intensity. The supporting cast is uniformly strong and, contrary to the EMI version, helps Callas elevate her verbal communicative powers to untold levels of histrionic eloquence. She really sings to the other characters, and vice versa - as opposed to singing into a microphone. Cherubini’s music alternates between beautiful moments and manic breathlessness.

It’s a demanding work, both from a performer’s and a listener’s standpoint. A roller coaster of emotional extremes displayed in plain daylight with quasi no moment of respite (except for the aforementioned Neris aria). It’s a rather short opera where, once Medea appears, there is no escape from the impending catastrophe. Brahms considered it the apex of lyrical drama. Beethoven and Wagner held it in very high esteem.

Originally written in French with versified dialogues, it was eventually rewoked in german translation by composer Lachner with sung recitatives replacing the dialogues. That version was then translated back into Italian and reintroduced to italian audiences in 1905 (112 years after its premiere!). It is not clear if this new Medea took hold for good, but it is the version that was revived for Callas in 1953. It took the operatic world by storm thanks to the supernatural adequation of the performer with the character. Vocally it’s not extremely difficult (only one high C), except that the dramatic intensity is at full tilt from her very first words, and only increases thereafter, with the dynamics going in tandem. By the end, Medea is hurling imprecations fff. Frightening stuff.

I’ll continue to look for other Callas performances of it, from London and Milan (1953 and 1961). There may be other good ones, but I think Callas genuinely owns this one. »