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Laurent Petitgirard (b.1950): The Little Prince, ballet / Melinda Felletar, harp; Akos Papai, clarinet; Gabor Kerdo, percussion

Album Summary

>Petitgirard, Laurent : The Little Prince, ballet suite for chorus, clarinet, harp & percussion
Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

The prize-winning French composer Laurent Petitgirard has earned acclaim for his unusually powerful theatrical imagination. His strikingly creative ballet score for Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) was first performed at the Avignon Opera in May 2010. Petitgirard centres his score around a chorus, alternating instrumental sonorities to remarkable effect, and evoking the essence of Antoine de Saint-Exupery's text in its movement from dream to reality, and from mystery to innocence.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Hungarian Radio Studio, Budapest, Hungary (2012-02-12&2012-05-11_2012-).


Delightful and exotic and a complete joy!
Saint-Exupery's "The Little Prince" is easily one of the best known and most well loved children's stories of all times. Its parable on the title character's quest for the virtuous is charming and has already translated well to the musical stage, by way of Rachel Portman's absolutely radiant opera. However, Laurent Petitgirard's ballet setting is equally as lush and fascinating. I was only casually familiar with Petitgirard through his own opera. "Joseph Merrick, The Elephant Man". Petitgirard enjoys a dual career as a conductor and composer and his gift for creative orchestration and tone color is evident throughout this work. In this ballet version of "The Little Prince", the voices carry the weight, singing key phrases from the Antoine de Saint-Exupery text to set the varous scenes. In addition to the beautiful choral writing, the score is very atypically thin; consisting of clarinet, harp and percussion. The clarinets (two) in particular provide an element of the exotic as the Prince travels to the planet with deserts, talking baobab trees and the like. The whole piece sounds more like a choral work with clarinet obliggato and a gentle, subdued harp and percussion accompaniment. In a way, this is part of why this piece makes such a strong impression. All the sections or movements are very picturesque; as if there must be some visual component. Truth be told, some of the sections are more immediately attractive than others; I was particularly taken by #2 "The Desert", #7 "The Wild Birds" and #10 "The Rose and the Watering Can" Modern music can sometimes be a bit daunting, especially if the composer is not a "name" with a style we already know. I suspect Laurent Petitgirard will be a new name for most, but I can think of no better introduction to his music. This a truly lovely piece and provides some wonderful listening. "The Little Prince" was written in 2010 for the French choreographer Sonia Petrovna and the Avignon opera house premiere. All the performing forces of soloists from the Hungarian Symphony and Choir of Budapest perform wonderfully. I would sure like to see this performed live in its intended format.
Submitted on 10/14/13 by Dan Coombs 
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Works Details

>Petitgirard, Laurent : The Little Prince, ballet suite for chorus, clarinet, harp & percussion
  • Conductor: Laurent Petitgirard
  • Ensemble: Soloists of the Hungarian Symphony Orchestra (Memb
  • Notes: Hungarian Radio Studio, Budapest, Hungary (2012-02-12&2012-05-11_2012-)
  • Running Time: 56 min. 11 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2010