New release: French classical symphonies by Rigel

Started by cmbvjc, November 18, 2009, 12:55:09 AM

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Did you ear the CD by Concerto Köln about the symphonies of Rigel ?

There is another recording of a movement of the Symphony in d minor in the box "200 years of music in Versailles", by Le Cercle de l'Harmonie orchestra conducted by Jeremie Rohrer.

These 2 discs have been made with a previous version of the scores today published by the Editions du Centre de Musique de Versailles and edited by Hervé Audéon.

Here is the press release:

The published Symphonies of Henri-Joseph Rigel: an accomplished representative of French Classicism.

New publication
The French musical heritage: critical edition – Series Anthologies 'Instrumental music'
Henri-Joseph Rigel
Les symphonies imprimées [The published Symphonies]
Hervé Audéon, scientific editor

In the 1760s and 1770s there was something new in the air in European music. Paris – then undoubtedly the artistic capital – saw the emergence of its first large-scale orchestras, the virtuosity of which required new scores. Thus, the Classical symphony began to revolutionise instrumental music. Henri-Joseph Rigel, an accomplished composer and one of the leading figures in that European movement, published fourteen symphonies in Paris. They are presented by Hervé Audéon (editor) in this critical volume published by the Éditions du Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles,.

Born in Wertheim am Main, Germany, in 1741, Henri-Joseph Rigel received his early musical training from his father, before going on to study with Niccolò Jommeli and Franz Xaver Richter. In 1767 the latter sent him to Paris 'for the education of a young person', and he decided to settle there. His compositions – oratorios, symphonies, harpsichord pieces, concertos and chamber music – were frequently performed at the Concert Spirituel and the Concert des Amateurs, and they circulated widely. As an example, one of his themes appears in the Andantino of Mozart's Fantasia for piano in C minor [KV.475]. Rigel was also well known and highly esteemed as a publisher and a teacher. He died in 1799.

In the field of symphonic works, Rigel was, with Gossec, one of the finest representatives of the French style. His music was unanimously recognised for its sober but very expressive  qualities, its concise form, the good balance between harmonic effects and a pure, well-developed melodic line with finely shaped phrasing. Orchestras that are used to playing the works of Haydn and Mozart would do well to get to know Rigel's music.

In his preface, Hervé Audéon describes with numerous references the context of the early symphony in France. And he makes a fine analysis of the delicate problems raised by late eighteenth-century printed editions and manuscripts (this is very useful notably to those preparing for a performance). He looks at more than dozen sources preserved in France, Germany, Switzerland and Belgium, and he is both rigorous and passionate in rehabilitating these magnificent works and relegates to oblivion the very free arrangements that were published in the 1930s.

This critical edition contains the scores of the fourteen symphonies that were published in Paris during the composer's lifetime. The preface (in French and English) is illustrated by seven facsimilies and is followed by a critical commentary. The part-books for each of the symphonies are also available.

Hervé Audéon is a researcher at the CNRS, a national organisation for scientific research. After studying music and musicology (doctoral thesis on The Piano Concerto in Paris from 1795 to 1815), he worked at the CMBV (1994-2006), then at the Institut for research on the French musical heritage (IRPMF). His research is directed essentially at eighteenth- and nineteenth-century instrumental music in France (piano, orchestra, repertoire, musical practices). He is at present working on the  critical edition of the piano concertos of Hyacinthe Jadin and of Louis-Joseph-Ferdinand Hérold, and the unpublished manuscripts of Antoine Reicha.

The Printed Symphonies of Henri-Joseph Rigel. Hervé Audéon, scientific editor. Les Éditions du Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles, series critical edition – Anthologies – Musique instrumentale. 2009. LXXV-318 p., hard cover. ISMN M-70704-52-1. Includes an introduction (French/English), illustrations and critical apparatus:125,00 €.
Parts of each symphony is available.


Quote from: cmbvjc on November 18, 2009, 12:55:09 AM
In the 1760s and 1770s there was something new in the air in European music. Paris – then undoubtedly the artistic capital – saw the emergence of its first large-scale orchestras

First large-scale orchestras, really? I'd think that Vingt-quatre violons du Roi augmented with Grande Ecurie winds would be larger than anything needed for classical symphony?


The 24 Violons du Roi are augmented with the Grande Ecurie only for great ceremonies: it isn't a permanant orchestra. And as large as there are, they cannot plays any symphonies... The structure of the orchestra is really different.