May 30, 2010

(Roger Desormiere - one the greatest interpreters of French music)

My rule of thumb has always been trying to hear a piece of recorded music that's as close to what the composer heard as possible. Unfortunately, you can't really do that with Bach, Beethoven or Mozart, but you can do that with composers who were active at any point in the 20th century. The result has been, for the most part, pretty satisfying and a rewarding adventure.

Roger Desormiere was probably one of the greatest figures in French music from the 1930's all the way to his inactivity due to health problems in the mid 1950s. But during his activity he was responsible for many premiers and first recordings of works by composers he was closely associated with. One of those composers was Darius Milhaud and this recording, the world premier of his Suite Provencale was made shortly after it premiered (in 1936). The recording was made for Le Chant du Monde in Paris in 1938 and for me it epitomizes that wildly sensual playing so associated with French orchestras during that period. Desormiere recorded a lot during his heyday and much of it has been reissued on CD and is available via iTunes. You might want to dig around Google and see what you'll find. You might be amazed.

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