Emmanuel Chabrier (1841-1894) is pretty much forgotten today, a one-hit wonder to most audiences, his “España” the only piece of his they’ve ever heard. There’s much more to the French composer though. He left a rich supply of orchestral music, songs, piano music and operas, much of it in a rhythmically energetic, harmonically vibrant, proto-Impressionistic style, admired by the likes of Ravel, who orchestrated his “Menuet Pompeux,” Poulenc, who wrote a book about Chabrier, Stravinsky and Satie. (An interesting aside: Chabrier owned a collection of paintings by Impressionists such as Manet — “Un bar aux Folies Bergère,” no less — Monet, Cezanne and Renoir.) Here is my selection of some of his orchestral and piano music. At the end I have included my favorite recording of the incomparable “España,” which Gustav Mahler once called “the beginnings of modern music.” –TM
Since you liked the last one so much, we thought we’d share another. Here’s Otto Klemperer conducting the New Philharmonia Orchestra in Mozart’s Overture to “Cosi fan tutte.” This was recorded in 1971, late in Klemperer’s life. The ensemble is not the tightest, but the tempos are beautifully chosen and the woodwinds wonderfully highlighted.
Is it just me, or do you hardly ever hear Rossini overtures in concerts anymore?
At any rate, here’s a good one, the Overture to “Cenerentola” (“Cinderella), performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra and conducted by Carlo Maria Giulini.
The portrait to the right is of Rossini c. 1815, a year or two before “Cenerentola” had its premiere in early 1817. It was painted by Vincenzo Camuccini and resides in the Museo del Teatro alla Scala in Milan. Rossini was born in 1792, so he is in his mid 20s here.