Offenbach Romantique / Minkowski

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JACQUES OFFENBACH

Ouvertüre / Overture:
Orphée aux enfers
Grand concerto pour violoncelle
et orchestre »Concerto militaire«
Ballet et Grande valse aus/from
Les Fées du Rhin · Ballet des Flocons
de neige aus/from Le Voyage dans la lune
Jérôme Pernoo · Les Musiciens du Louvre
Marc Minkowski
Int. Release 02 Jan. 2007
1 CD / Download
0289 477 6403 8 CD DDD AH
ARCHIV Produktion
Marc Minkowski reveals the romantic side of Offenbach


トラック・リスト

Jacques Offenbach (1819 - 1880)
Orpheus in the Underworld (Orphée aux enfers)

Edition Jean-Christophe Keck

Les Musiciens du Louvre, Marc Minkowski

Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, "Concerto militaire"

Jérôme Pernoo, Les Musiciens du Louvre, Marc Minkowski

Le Fées du Rhin

6.
0:00
2:58

Le voyage dans la lune

Offenbach Edtion Keck

Ballet des Flocons de neige

12.
0:00
2:15

13.
0:00
0:54

Les Musiciens du Louvre, Marc Minkowski

再生時間合計 1:17:48

The playing from orchestra and soloist alike is of the highest class and, allied to the generous but not cavernous acoustics of the Grenoble Maison de Culture, has given us a disc that will no doubt give great pleasure to many, and not only Offenbachophiles. Under Minkowski's alert baton, rhythms bounce, tunes sparkle and dynamic contrasts make you jump . . . Pernoo copes with these outrageous demands with unfailing skill . . .

Marc Minkowski and Les Musiciens des Louvre have a message for you: Jacques Offenbach was more than a comic-opera composer, more than a cancan man . . . If there is not enough French Romanticism in your life, this is a disc for you.

. . . there is ample detail to bring out the fine quality of the performance by both Jérôme Pernoo and of the period orchestra under Marc Minkowski. The fill-ups . . . add greatly to the attractions of the disc . . . it is a most welcome issue.

Jérôme Pernoo realizes what I imagine were Keck's hopes when the manuscript was finally put together, deconstructing the cello and taking us to the furthermost reaches of its highest and lowest ranges, its compendium of bowing techniques, sawing, plucking, tapping, caressing. Occasionally, the ensemble drops out, leaving the cello alone, reveling in the acoustics of the Grenoble hall, as if taken with its own performance before this rapt audience. High marks on engineering for capturing every last string vibration such that each note remains distinct from the others in the jagged clusters that color the most frenetic, almost violently bowed, passages.

In hochromantischem Stil komponiert, verbindet es [Cellokonzert] brillante, ja oft aberwitzige Virtuosität (Flageoletts, Doppelgriffpassagen und höchste Lagen) mit sensibler Poesie: eine gelungene Mischung aus Überschwang und Jubel, Melancholie und Zartheit. Unglaublich, wie der Reifestil Offenbachs hier schon vorweggenommen ist. Solist Jérôme Pernoo spielt von A bis Z hinreißend . . . Da gibt es die rhapsodischer Ouvertüre zu »Orpheus in der Unterwelt«, bei der die ersten Klänge gar nicht höllisch, sondern ganz im Gegenteil himmlisch klingen. Wenn es einen Offenbach-Originalklang gibt, da ist er: ein weicher, dennoch energetischer Klangfluss voller Noblesse, Eleganz und Zauber, der die Qualitäten dieser Musik offenlegt, dennoch witzig, zündend, perlend wie Champagner herüberkommt.

Unter Minkowskis straffer Leitung entsteht ein spannungsvoller Dialog zwischen dem vorwärtsdrängenden Orchester und dem hochromantischen Solopart, den Jérôme Pernoo souverän und kantabel gestaltet. Offenbach, der als »Liszt des Cellos« galt, fordert absolute Brillanz, Akrobatik in höchsten Lagen und sehnsüchtige Themen im Flageolett. So gespielt, wirkt seine Musik beglückend vielschichtig . . . Minkowski [lässt] die Musik voller Energie funkeln.

Zum Glück gibt es Marc Minkowski und die grandiosen »Musiciens du Louvre« . . . Auf ihrer neuen CD präsentieren sie Offenbach als das, was er ursprünglich war (einer der herausragenden Cellisten seiner Zeit), und was er dann wurde (ein hochambitionierter Komponist) . . . Jérôme Pernoo ist diesem irrsinnig schweren Risenkonzert ein würdiger Interpret. Als Beigabe gibt es Orchesterstücke . . . von Minkowski und den Seinen mit feuriger Grandezza fabelhaft umgesetzt.

Minkowski legt das Innere des Konzerts und der anderen Werke, der "Orpheus"-Ouvertüre sowie den Ausschnitten aus den "Rheinnixen" und der "Reise zum Mond", wie mit einem Seziermesser frei: Jede Stimme, jeder Akzent, jeder Rhythmus tritt glasklar vor das Ohr des Hörers. Alle Achtung!

Der junge französische Cellist Jérôme Pernoo interpretiert dieses wieder entdeckte Juwel auf seinem historischen Cello mit virtuoser Leichtigkeit, klanglicher Raffinesse und einem sagenhaften Gespür für die Eleganz Offenbachscher Musik. Marc Minkowski und seine Les Musiciens du Louvre erweisen sich als perfekte Partner und begleiten Pernoo mit einem großen Spektrum an Klangfarben.

Ein meisterhaftes Stück, voller Kraft und Raffinesse. Minkowski und der enthusiastisch-virtuose Jérôme Pernoo am Cello erwecken es als Stück explosiver Musizierfreude, als Ausdruck der Prägnanz von Melodie und Rhythmus zu neuem Leben . . . Das ist Offenbach, wie er derzeit in Frankreich wieder entdeckt wird.

Pernoo meistert die Griffhürden mit Bravour, der direkte Klang bringt den rhythmischen Drive des exzellent mit dem anerkannten Offenbach-Restaurator Minkowski kommunizierenden Orchesters gut zur Geltung.

. . . Jean-Christophe Keck, qui se débat comme un beau diable pour débrouiller et éditer les partitions d'Offenbach, trouve en Marc Minkowski un allié et un héraut de premier choix . . . Le disque confirme et redouble le plaisir éprouvé au concert . . . restituant tout l'entrain et l'enthousiasme alors visibles des interprètes. A commencer par un Jérôme Pernoo tout sourire, lyrique t romantique à souhait, dont les doigts «fumants» affichent un entrain imperturbable. Il avance sur ce champ de bataille sans un égratignure, plumes au vent, se payant le luxe d'une cadence de son cru. Au pupitre, Marc Minkowski avec compagne avec toute l'attention, le sens du rebond et le brio dont il est capable, veillant à ne pas couvrir son soliste, trouvant avec ses musiciens . . . une variété de couleurs, brillantes ou ombrées, du plus bel effet. Là comme dans les pages encadrant le concerto, écho de collaborations antérieures, le maestro et chez lui" Ce qui sourd de sa baguette est proprement irrésistible.

Jérôme Pernoo, qui nous offre une démonstration technique extrêmement brillante et une interprétation à la fois incandescente et intériorisée (plénitude du chant, précision des traits, verve irrésistible...), ou panache et poésie ne s'excluent pas. Il est superbement secondé par Marc Minkowski (direction souple, vivante, attentive) et ses Musiciens du Louvre, aux qualités individuelles et collectives indéniables et qui confirment ici leurs affinités avec Offenbach . . . Ce très beau CD devrait ravir à la fois tous les amateurs de violoncelle et les amoureux de Jacques Offenbach. Quant aux autres, ils auraient tort de se priver d'un tel disque qui permet d'éclairer et de compléter le portrait d'un compositeur décidément bien surprenant.

. . . el Concierto militar, . . . que Minkowski ha dirigido con fervor beethoveniano, sin miedo a mostrar sus diabólicas audacias paganinianas con el instrumento.

The . . . long-lost cello concerto, music from his German grand opera Rheinnixen, and ballet music from "Le Voyage dans la lune" demand re-aligned listening priorities: . . . there's substance and innovation under the charm, plus puzzles lurking under the froth. In the cello concerto (which is quite unlike any other), is the military percussion amid bouncy tunes a satire or an homage? Since it's a concert work, Offenbach, intriguingly, didn't have to say. The key element to this disc's success is the smaller-scale period-instrument performances that never oversell the music, while still capturing its considerable energy.


    Offenbach the Romantic

Familiarity with the famous galop from Orphée aux enfers and the finale of La Vie parisienne has tended to obscure Offenbach's early career. Failing to see the wood for the trees, we have all too often forgotten that before creating the French opéra bouffe, Offenbach was one of the greatest cellists of his day, and that far from restricting himself to making his Parisian audiences laugh, he was also an impassioned Romantic gifted with an astonishing melodic vein. His grand opera Die Rheinnixen, the delicate Fantasio, Les Contes d'Hoffmann of course, as well as the works included in the present release should be enough to convince listeners of this claim's validity.

Thanks to his almost fiendish virtuosity, Offenbach was known to his contemporaries as the "Liszt of the cello". Indeed, he even appeared on the same concert platform as Liszt, as well as with Anton Rubinstein and Friedrich von Flotow, both in Paris and in his native Germany. It was Offenbach, too, who introduced Beethoven's cello sonatas to France. But above and beyond the pleasure that he took in performing the music of others, his true passion was composition, and from a very early age he produced an impressive corpus of works for his favourite instrument, writing not only many shorter pieces but also countless studies and fantasias and a number of larger orchestral works, chief among which are a Danse bohémienne, a Grande Scène espagnole and, above all, the tremendous Concerto militaire, here recorded complete for the first time.

Offenbach himself gave the first performance of the concerto's opening movement at the Salle Moreau-Sainti in Paris on 24 April 1847 - it is unclear why the remaining movements were not performed at that time. It is likely that Offenbach played the work on a number of later occasions, although the only fully documented performance took place in Cologne on 24 October 1848. The work then fell into obscurity and it was not until a century later that the composer's grandson, Jacques Brindejont-Offenbach, unearthed it and entrusted the autograph score of the opening movement, together with a number of surviving piano sketches, to the cellist Jean-Max Clément. Clément prepared a new edition of the score based on these various sources, reserving for himself the right to perform the piece in the concert hall. He did what he could to reconstruct the second and third movements, which he orchestrated on the basis of the original piano sketches, while taking certain liberties with the material. In particular, he cut a number of passages in the opening movement that he judged to be too difficult.

In fact, both Clément and Jacques Brindejont-Offenbach were unaware that autograph copies of the Andante and final movement were lodged in the family archives, in both cases completed and orchestrated by Offenbach himself. Admittedly, neither manuscript was meaningfully headed and the introductions to both movements had been substantially developed and changed when compared to the piano sketches, so that it is difficult to detect any connection between the different pieces in the jigsaw without a detailed study of the sources.

Clément's version of the Concerto militaire was extremely uneven and incomplete. Nor was it very successful. Meanwhile, Offenbach's unpublished papers were scattered throughout the entire world when his manuscripts were auctioned off. It was a combination of archival research and pure chance that allowed the present writer to discover the complete manuscript of the second movement in Cologne at the city's historical archives (Historisches Archiv der Stadt Köln) and that of the final movement in Washington at the Library of Congress. The autograph of the opening movement was acquired by the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, having long formed part of the collection of the distinguished conductor, and shrewd collector, Richard Bonynge. At the same time, the Offenbach family archives were found to contain a complete set of the instrumental parts of the opening movement used at the Paris première in 1847, while the composer's earliest sketches were discovered - again by the present writer - in the Beinecke Library at Yale University in New Haven.

The Cologne Andante is largely identical with the sketches used by Clément. The Washington version of the third movement, by contrast, features several themes that are entirely different from those found in the sketches. In spite of this, the most significant feature remains the consistency of the orchestral colour and tonal discourse, which ensures that all three movements, however scattered, form a coherent whole. This is particularly true of the link between the Andante and the final movement, which creates an entirely natural impression, unlike the abrupt introduction in a self-contained version of the final movement (known under the erroneous title of Concerto Rondo) that was still in circulation until relatively recently.

The military element that gives the work its title is clear from the timpani strokes at the start of the opening movement that invest the principal theme with its martial rhythm. But it is really only in the third movement that this element is fully developed, sometimes striking a clangorous, joyful note, sometimes appearing more disturbing and even anguished, for example in the funeral procession that quite unexpectedly passes across the "battlefield" - the attentive listener may be surprised to "recognize" here and there certain turns of phrase that seem to look forward to Mahler, even Shostakovich.

Above all, however, it is the spirit of the future composer of La belle Hélène that already permeates this concerto, with its hyper-Romanticism and a virtuosity that invariably draws strength and life from the most profound lyricism, notably in the wonderful Andante, in which the hypersensitive composer's most elegiac writing is alleviated by the humour of which he was a past master. The result, especially in the final movement, is that happy blend of tenderness and madness, melancholy and jubilation that one finds again and again in the composer's 650 surviving works. This music has a Beethovenian ardour but is also surprisingly daring from a harmonic standpoint.

On a purely technical level, finally, it must be said that Offenbach exploits the full range of the cello's possibilities, even taking his soloist to the very limits of what is feasible and clearly demanding an exceptional interpreter for an altogether exceptional work. The demands of Paganini at his most unbridled almost seem straightforward in comparison to Offenbach's: diabolical double stopping, almost impossible positions, melodies in precarious harmonics, motifs played in perilously high registers, acrobatics and traps of every sort. Nothing is spared the virtuoso.

*

By 1864 much had changed in Offenbach's life. The young composer of 1848, who had worked so hard to introduce his music to a deeply indifferent Parisian public, was now a fashionable artist, setting his little world dancing, his talents both recognized and envied. First staged at the Théâtre des Variétés in Paris in 1864, La belle Hélène proved a triumphant success, while in Vienna a different masterpiece - the Romantic grand opera Die Rheinnixen ("The Rhine Nixies") - fell victim to a cabal orchestrated by a Wagnerian faction, the local press laying into a composer whom they derided as "the little Mozart of the Champs-Élysées". Audiences, conversely, were not misled but greeted the performances with thunderous applause. One of the main themes from Die Rheinnixen, the "Song of the Elves", which recurs in the overture, was to leave its listeners in no two minds about its merits when it reappeared 15 years later as the Barcarolle in Les Contes d'Hoffmann. Conversely, the ballet music for Die Rheinnixen was borrowed from another of the composer's masterpieces that still awaits rediscovery, Le Papillon, a Romantic grand ballet first staged at the Paris Opéra in 1860.

The present recording begins and ends with two works - the rhapsodic overture to Orphée aux enfers (1874) and the "Snowflake Ballet" from Le Voyage dans la lune (1875) - that both bear witness to one of the most successful periods in Offenbach's life. By now he had become director of the Théâtre de la Gaîté, one of the most beautiful halls in Paris, and he finally had at his disposal a full-size orchestra with a proper pit and a genuine corps de ballet. He now revised two of his earliest successes - Orphée aux enfers and Geneviève de Brabant - to take account of these magnificent new surroundings and to offer his astonished audiences an entirely new type of opera, the opéra-bouffe féerie, a fairytale light opera in which nothing was too sensational - a work designed to fill his audiences with a sense of genuine wonderment. Pictorial poetry and Bacchian euphoria are combined in these snowflakes, which suffice to prove that the composer had no need of a pseudo-cancan, of a Gaîté parisienne or of assiduous arrangers to create orchestral magic. May the present recording contribute to the revival of an authentic Offenbach.

Jean-Christophe Keck
Editor-in-chief of the Offenbach Edition (Boosey & Hawkes/Bote & Bock, Berlin)
9/2006