Paul Paray with L’Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France – Retrospective Program #1 – 2014 – Radio France Musique-
Paul Paray in concert with the Radio France Philharmonic in the first of a series of programs produced by France Musique in 2014 featuring the legendary conductor leading the orchestra during his years of association with that orchestra.
Here’s what’s on the player:
Paul Paray – l’Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France
1. Hector Berlioz
Opening of the Roman carnival
Concert of January 22, 1971
2. Gabriel Pierné
Cydalise et le Chèvre-pied, 1st orchestral suite
Concert of June 16, 1972
3. Claude Debussy
Concert of February 7, 1969
4. Ernest Chausson
Concert of January 29, 1971
5. Maurice Ravel
Daphnis and Chloé, suite n ° 2
Concert of March 7, 1964
Paul Paray is best remembered in the United States for being the resident conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for more than a decade. Paray made his American debut with the New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra in 1939. In 1952, he was appointed music director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, conducting them in numerous recordings for Mercury Records’ “Living Presence” series. Following his departure from Detroit in 1963, Paray returned to France and maintained a healthy international guest-conducting career. He was in his tenth decade when he made his last conducting appearance in the United States, leading the Orchestra of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. A report in Musical America noted: “Now ninety-two, Paray brings to the podium not only a reputation as one of the great conductors of our time, but strength, energy, and a solid technique that have not diminished through the years.”
Paray could and did conduct the entire orchestral repertoire well, but he specialized in the French symphonic literature. One of Paray’s most renowned recordings, made in October 1957, is that of the Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No. 3 in C minor “Organ”. The circumstances surrounding the recording were fortuitous. Paray had built the Detroit Symphony Orchestra into one of the world’s most distinguished. Marcel Dupré, a friend and fellow student from childhood, was organist for the session. Dupré, as a young student, had pulled the organ stops for the composer Camille Saint-Saëns in a performance of the Symphony No. 3 in Paris, and the organ of Ford Auditorium in Detroit was well suited to the work. As well as being among the most authoritative readings of the work, the original analogue recording on the Mercury label remains an audiophile reference in vinyl, and the analogue-to-digital transfer produced by the original recording director Wilma Cozart for compact disc is also available from Mercury (recording number 432 719-2).
The five part series produced by France Musique covers only his period in Paris, but gives you an idea how well regarded the conductor was on both sides of the Atlantic.
I will be running the rest of the series over the coming weeks, so stay tuned.
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