, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Label : EMI
Format : Flac track
Cover : No

This is a set to treasure: all of Michel Plasson and the Toulouse Orchestra’s EMI recordings of French music (minus the operas), including rarities like Gounod’s Mors et Vita , Ropartz’s choral Third Symphony, the four symphonies of Magnard, Ravel’s three cantatas submitted for the Prix de Rome, d’Indy’s Second Symphony, Roussel’s Evocations , Sauguet’s circus ballet Les Forains , and many others. There is even a disc of movie music by Jaubert and Kosma. Performances and recording quality are first-class. The familiar Berlioz items, such as the Symphonie Fantastique and various overtures, are equal to any recorded competition, in my opinion. Featured artists include Villazón, Gedda, von Otter, Pollet, Dumay, Duchable, Collard, and many more.

There are two drawbacks. One is the complete absence of libretti and notes, and no indication of any online address where you might access them. Instead there is a puff piece about Plasson, full of the usual pompous histrionics. The other minus is the packaging: For some reason beyond all human comprehension, each of these 37 CDs has been put into a paper sleeve with plastic inlay—fine so far—then glued shut! As you wrench open the paper flap, strings of gum stretch across the opening and unavoidably get all over the disc. Did EMI think we would actually play these discs, or just put the whole thing unopened into a time capsule?

What I suggest is this: Before removing a disc from its sleeve, open the paper flap, cut it off, rub away all the remaining gum—it comes off with a dry thumb rub—then, to prevent the sleeves sticking to each other, place a strip of clear adhesive tape over the area where the flap was glued. Be careful not to let any lumps of gum stick to the discs, as you don’t want it clogging up your CD player or computer. This painstaking method seems to have worked, although the openings are not very even and you’ll go mad if you’re a neatness nut. (Your hand may be steadier with scissors than mine. If Augusten Burroughs is around, ask him to do it.)

Despite the packaging nightmare, this release is packed with Hall of Fame material and is a salutary reminder of the kind of contracts big record companies used to offer classical musicians. It is highly recommended for the music, performances, recording quality, and price.

Hector Berlioz 1803-1869
CD1 : Symphonie Fantastique – Ouvertures : Le Carnaval romain, Le Corsaire
CD2 : Harold en Italie, op.16 – Ouvertures : Benvenuto Cellini, op.23, Waverley, op.1
CD3-4 : Œuvres chorales (R. Villazón, N. Rivenq, L. Naouri)

Charles Gounod 1818-1893
CD5 : Symphonies nos1 et 2
CD6-7 : Mors et vita

César Franck 1822-1890
CD8 : Symphonie en ré mineur -Variations symphoniques (J.P. Collard) + Saint-Saëns Cyprès et lauriers
CD9 : Rédemption (L. Wilson, B. Uria-Monzon)

Edouard Lalo 1823-1892
CD10 : Symphonie espagnole – Concerto pour violon (A. Dumay)

Camille Saint-Saëns 1835-1921
CD11 : Symphonie n°3 – La Foi

Georges Bizet 1838-1875
CD12 : L’Arlésienne, op.23 (Musique de scène intégrale) + Saint-Saëns : Le Carnaval des Animaux
CD13 : Suites d’orchestre Carmen n°1 – L’Arlésienne – Jeux d’enfants – etc.
CD14 : Symphonie en ut – Roma – Patrie

Emmanuel Chabrier 1841-1894
CD15 : Joyeuse Marche – España – Suite Pastorale – Le Roi malgré lui – etc.
CD16 : Ouverture de Gwendoline – A la musique – etc.

Gabriel Fauré 1845-1924
CD17 : Pelléas et Mélisande – Masques et Bergamasques – Shylock
CD18 : Ballade – Elégie – Berceuse – Fantaisie – Les Djinns – Caligula – Prélude de Pénélope
CD19 : Requiem – Cantique de Jean racine + Chausson : Soir de fête – Viviane

Ernest Chausson 1855-1899
CD20 : Symphonie op.20 + d’Indy : Symphonie n°2

Claude Debussy 1862-1918
CD21 : Nocturnes – Le Printemps – Prélude à l’Après-midi d’un faune – La Mer

Joseph Guy Ropartz 1864-1955
CD22 : Symphonie n°3

Albéric Magnard 1865-1914
CD23-24-25 : Symphonies – Hymne à la justice – Ouverture, op.10 – Chant funèbre

Erik Satie 1866-1925
CD26 : Parade, etc.

Albert Roussel 1869-1937
CD27 : Evocations, op.15 – Résurrection, op.4

Maurice Ravel 1875-1937
CD28 : La Valse – Boléro – Pavane – Valses nobles et sentimentales – Ma Mère l’Oye
CD29 : Cantates de Rome
CD30 : Concertos + Debussy : Fantaisie (J.P. Collard)

Arthur Honegger 1892-1955
CD31-32 : Symphonies – Pacific 231

Henri Sauguet 1901-1989
CD33 : Les Forains – Tableaux de Paris

Maurice Duruflé 1902-1986
CD34 : Requiem – Messe « cum jubilo » – 4 Motets sur des thèmes grégoriens – Notre Père

Henri Dutilleux
CD35 : Métaboles – The Shadows of time – Symphonie n°2
CD36 : Dukas – Franck – Lazzari – Duparc – Saint-Saëns Poèmes symphoniques

CD37 : Musique de films de Marcel Carné

Complete tracklist : Michel Plasson et la Musique Francaise