PAUL DUKAS (1865-1935): Polyeucte for Orchestra, Villanelle for Horn and Orchestra Les Sirènes for Women’s Chorus and Orchestra, L’Ondine et le Pêcheur for Soprano and Orchestra, Velléda for Soprano, Tenor, Bass and Orchestra, Sémélé for Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Baritone and Orchestra, for Chorus and Orchestra: La Fête des myrtes, Pensée des morts, Hymne au soleil.
Catalogue Number: 11R004
Label: Ediciones Singulares
Reference: ES 1021
Description: Dukas tried four times for the Prix de Rome and was frustrated at every turn by the pig-headed, hide-bound conservatives who dominated the award committee. Four choruses and two cantatas, all edited for this recording from manuscripts, chronicle Dukas’ mandatory settings for 1886-89 and, as with most of the other “cantata” settings we’ve heard in this series, these two are really full-strength operatic scenes of 30 minutes length. Pretty gripping too! The only original orchestral work (the Villanelle was orchestrated in 1906 by Odette Metzneger, a student of Dukas’) is the 12-minute Polyeucte of 1892 which was predictably excoriated by critics for its perceived “Wagnerian pastiche” and “fashionable chromaticisms”. The usual wealth of essays includes a brief autobiography by the composer himself. 2 CDs + book. French-English texts. Marianne Fiset, Catherine Hunold, Chantal Santon-Jeffery (sopranos), Kate Aldrich, Marie Kalinine (mezzos), Frédéric Antoun, Cyrille Dubois (tenors), Andrew Foster-Williams (bass-baritone), Tassis Christoyannis (Baritone), Hans van der Zanden (horn), Flemish Radio Choir, Brussels Philharmonic; Hervé Niquet.