Paul Paray - Retrospective Part 3

Paul Paray - this time as accompanist - with a stellar cast of soloists.

Paul Paray Leads L’Orchestre Philharmonique De Radio France With Aline Van Barentzen, Elisabeth Söderström, Yvonne Lefébure and Jean-Jacques Kantorow – 1960-1971- Episode 3 – Past Daily Mid-Week Concer

Paul Paray - Retrospective Part 3
Paul Paray – this time as accompanist – with a stellar cast of soloists.

Paul Paray and L’Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France – Retrospective Part 3 – Radio France Musique –

Continuing with Paul Paray this week – part three of the excellent series produced by Radio France Musique in 2014 featuring performances with Paray leading the ORTF Orchestra, this time in a support capacity to soloists, Aline van Barentzen, Elizabeth Söderström, Yvonne Lefébure and Jean-Jacques Kantorow.

Here’s what’s on the player:

1. Ludwig van Beethoven
Creatures of Prometheus
Concert from 1960

2. Camille Saint-Saëns
Piano Concerto No. 2
Concert of February 7, 1969
With Aline Van Barentzen

3. Maurice Ravel
Concert of 1971
With Elisabeth Söderström

4. Robert Schumann
Piano Concerto
With Yvonne Lefébure (1970)

5. Maurice Ravel
Concerto en sol
With Yvonne Lefébure

6. Felix Mendelssohn
Violin Concerto
With Jean-Jacques Kantorow

I ran across this essay on Paul Paray during his tenure in Detroit from Peter Gutmann which adds further information to this extraordinary artist’s career:

From A Frenchman In Detroit, by Peter Gutmann:

“Paray was born into a musical family in 1886. Despite the interruptions of both World Wars (he spent most of the first as a prisoner of war and the second with the Resistance) he established a solid reputation as a French conductor, heading orchestras in Lamoureux, Monte Carlo and Paris. American guest stints led to his appointment as permanent conductor of the recently reorganized DSO. Their very first records prove that he quickly forged the ensemble into a truly great orchestra and transformed its sound into a replica of those he had known in France. (Paray ultimately parted ways with the DSO in 1963 but remained active well into his ‘nineties; conductors do tend to last a very long time!)

It’s especially remarkable that the fiercely proud French tradition should thrive in the heart of America, the very place where national trends became forsaken and assimilated. After all, French culture is the most deeply chauvinistic of any, proudly defended to the death against the pollution of foreign influence. Indeed, the most famous French music has a unique sound, often described as impressionistic, much like the paintings of Monet and Renoir. It’s a valid analogy. Like that art, French impressionist music is concerned more with color effects than formal structure, as sensual melodies briefly appear before flitting away. While the overall effect is of subtle, blended mist, the sound is achieved through a layering of distinct instruments, much as in a Seraut painting in which the pastel atmosphere arises from dots of intense color. That’s what Paray gives us – not a sonic blur but precise dabs of bold instrumental coloration. Just as brushstrokes are carefully placed, the DSO’s rhythm and articulation of individual notes are always precise and luminously clear.”

Enjoy – and come back for Part 4 next week.

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