Jean Francaix - Orchestral Music vol. 3

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Jean Francaix - Orchestral Music vol. 3
Ulster Orchestra / Thierry Fischer, conductor

[ Hyperion / CD ]

Release Date: Wednesday 13 April 2005

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'Thierry Fischer seems totally attuned to Françaix's idiom, and the engineers have captured the excellent acoustics of Belfast's Ulster Hallto colourful effect. The Ulster Orchestra plays with wit, point and vitality: it can rarely if ever have sounded better on record'
- BBC Music Magazine

The third in our series of orchestral recordings featuring music by Jean Françaix perfectly encapsulates the world of this humorous, civilized and quintessentially French composer.

Le roi nu, the fourth of Françaix's nine ballet scores, paraphrases the story (by Hans Christian Andersen) of the emperor who allows himself to be fooled into parading around the court totally naked - pompous fanfares, witty orchestral asides and louche polkas abound as the action gently mocks the misguided monarch.

Les demoiselles de la nuit is an altogether more moody affair (a facet even reflected at the Paris premiere when a young Margot Fonteyn initially refused to wear the required cat mask - 'it wouldn't be asked of me at Covent Garden!' - to be met with a threat from the surrealist set-designer to burn down the theatre unless she complied) involving a beautiful young kitten in love with a (human) violinist who falls to his death cavorting on the rooftops. Needless to say, our genteel composer does not allow the gloom to persist, and the resulting ballet was rewarded with extended runs in London, Paris and New York.


Le roi nu

Scene 1 Fanfare [0'52]
The dance of the three tailors in the square before the palace … [2'10]
The king orders them to desist [1'22]
Scene 2 The wondrous fabric is explained to the court … [2'03]
The fabric is brought out … [0'51]
General admiration [1'35]
Scene 3 The queen dances with her lover … [1'05]
The king is heard approaching … [2'17]
Interlude for the king … [1'55]
The garment is put on … Interlude for the queen [6'16]
Scene 4 A ball in the throne room … 'But the king is naked!' … [3'38]
Panic [1'47]

Les demoiselles de la nuit

Scene 1 Nocturne [2'42]
Dance of the servant cats and the young man … [2'22]
Entrance of the female kittens … [2'09]
Pursuit of the mouse … [0'50]
Entrance of Agathe, the coquettish white kitten [7'04]
Entrance of the lady cats … Battle … [0'41]
Entrance of Madame, the leading female cat … [0'26]
Entrance of Baron de Grotius, the alpha male … [3'09]
General procession … the marriage … [2'09]
Nocturne [2'35]
Scene 2 Dance of the bill … [1'15]
Agathe and the young man … [1'43]
Agathe kills a caged bird … [1'32]
Pas de deux … to bed … [2'23]
The Baron and his entourage summon Agathe … [1'12]
The company dances on the rooftops [4'17]