BIZET Clo­vis et Clotilde/Te Deum (Naxos)

Pasatiempo - - Pasa Tempos -

From the early 19th cen­tury through the mid­dle of the 20th, stu­dent com­posers in France strug­gled through the an­nual com­pe­ti­tions for the Prix de Rome, a seal-of-ap­proval award from the Académie des Beaux-Arts. The de­ci­sive hur­dle was the com­po­si­tion of an op­er­atic scene for one or more voices with orches­tra, usu­ally to a stodgy text in­spired by his­tory or mythol­ogy. The 19-year-old Ge­orges Bizet won in 1857, on his sec­ond try, with his can­tata Clo­vis et Clotilde, which re­counts a piv­otal in­ci­dent in the Chris­tian­iz­ing of medieval France. The young French tenor Philippe Do of­fers im­pres­sive work in this record­ing, far sur­pass­ing his mar­ginal, but not un­lis­ten­able, col­leagues Kata­rina Jo­vanovic (so­prano) and Mark Sch­naible (bass). Jean-Claude Casadesus serves hon­or­ably on the podium, lead­ing the Orchestre Na­tional de Lille. Prob­a­bly the level of per­for­mance is about what Bizet could have ex­pected at his win­ner’s con­cert. But it’s the reper­toire it­self that pro­vides the pay­back, in­spired by Schu­bert, Rossini, and Men­delssohn and of­fer­ing glimpses of the tal­ent that would soon ex­cel at com­pos­ing full-blown op­eras. The CD also in­cludes Bizet’s Te Deum, a bom­bas­tic bit of re­li­gious cel­e­bra­tion that he sub­mit­ted to an­other competition; it lost to the only other en­try. Still, it’s all great fun for any­one in­ter­ested in the com­poser’s early steps along the road that led to Car­men. — James M. Keller

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.