Mozart - Dans un bois solitaire... / Pierlot, Allard, Devémy, et al
MOZART Symphonie concertante, K 297b. 1 Quintet for Piano and Winds, K 452. 2 Oboe Concerto, K 314. 3 Dans un bois solitaire. 4 An Chloe. 5 Die Verschweigung 6 • Fernand Oubradous, cond; 1 Arthur Goldschmidt, cond; 3 O des Concerts Lamoureux; 1,3 Pierre Pierlot (ob); 1,2,3 Pierre Lefebvre (cl); 1 Jean Devémy (hn); 1,2 Maurice Allard (bn); 1,2 Irène Joachim (sop); 4,5,6 Yvette Grimaud (pn); 2 Ludwig Bergmann (pn); 4,5 Jean Germain (pn) 6 • ALPHA 800 (75:23)
Behind this imposing stack of headnotes is a historic collection of Mozart performances, made between 1938 (the first two songs) and 1951, and taken from the archives of Radio France. As must be clear, those were difficult years for music, and for life itself, in France. In the notes, Yvette Grimaud remembers that the Quintet recording was made (in 1948) when she was eating one meal a day. No one quite knew how the music they were making was going to be issued, and no one spoke about money. No one in fact spoke; they communicated through music, and seemed otherwise dumfounded.
So this is a holy recording to her. It is also eloquent, though not perfect. One hears in the first movement of the Piano Quintet the elegance of the winds, the sensitivity of the pianist, but one also hears Grimaud rush through several phrases, perhaps to give the sense of lightness, but disconcerting nonetheless. And one hears a prominent fluff by the usually impeccable horn, Jean Devémy. (There was of course no possibility of fixing such minor gaffes.) I find those problems more than compensated for by the beauty of the slow movement, in which horns and piano play with what Grimaud calls “serene amplitude.”
The Oboe Concerto and Symphonie concertante, featuring many of the same musicians, are similarly satisfying, though the sound of the concerto seems unnecessarily distant for a recording made, even on 78s, in 1951. I am less taken with the tremulous singing of Irène Joachim: she sounds a bit like the oboists of old, wavering and Victorian.
This is a collection for wind enthusiasts, I conclude, and as such, historically interesting as well as musically satisfying.
FANFARE: Michael Ullman
Catalog Number: ALPHA800
Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor: Arthur Goldschmidt, Fernand Oubradous
Orchestra/Ensemble: Fernand Oubradous Chamber Orchestra, Lamoureux Concerts Association Orchestra
Performer: Iréne Joachim, Jean Devemy, Jean Germain, Ludwig Bergmann, Maurice Allard, Pierre Lefebvre, Pierre Pierlot, Ulysse Delecluse, Yvette Grimaud