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Francis Poulenc: Stabat Mater; Les Biches / Marlis Petersen, soprano. Stuttgart Radio SO, Stephane Deneve

Album Summary

>Poulenc, Francis : Stabat Mater, for soprano, chorus & orchestra, FP 148
>Poulenc, Francis : Les biches (The Does), ballet, FP 36
Performer Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Stéphane Dénève, the new principal conductor of the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra of SWR, makes his debut recording with a thoughtful program of Poulenc. The charmingly frivolous Les Biches, a ballet with chorus, is balanced by the hauntingly passionate Stabat Mater, a medieval hymn meditating on the suffering of Mary during the crucifixion.

BBC Music Magazine, April 2013
Monk and man-about-town: both sides of Poulenc's complex personality are represented. Deneve conducts idiomatically, and his sharp, perky account of the ballet Les Biches is particularly relishable.

Financial Times, 30th March 2013
Sensuous fervour contrasts with carefree elegance and erotic urbanity in this disc that represents the composer's two extremes.

International Record Review
This new version from StTphan DenFve with soprano Marlis Peterson, NDR Chorus, the SWR Vokalensemble and the Stuttgart Radio Orchestra is one of rare beauty: an exceptionally refined performance and also a very moving one that instantly heads towards the top of any list of recommendations.

American Record Guide, July/August 2013
From Maestro Deneve comes conducting that is deeply felt and in magnificent control of dynamics. The Stuttgart ensembles contribute superb musicianship, and Marlis Petersen spins a web of beauty and power in the evocative solos of the Stabat Mater. In keeping with everything else, the engineering is state-of-the-art. Robert Shaw gave us marvelous Poulenc, and his Telarc Stabat Mater coupled with Szymanowski's riveting take on the same text is wonderful. This one, I think, joins it at the top, though Baudo (HM), Piquemal (Naxos), and Tortelier (Chandos) are nothing to sneeze at. Les Biches is also special. It comes with its two choral portions intact, which gives it an edge over performances of the orchestral suite alone. Pretre did a nice job with the complete score on an EMI double-disc of Poulenc's orchestral fare. This is as good or better; and Hanssler's spectacular sound adds to its allure.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Funkstudio, SWR Stuttgart (03/03/2012-03/15/2012); Liederhalle, Stuttgart-Beethoven-Saal, Germany (03/03/2012-03/15/2012); Funkstudio, SWR Stuttgart (03/23/2012); Liederhalle, Stuttgart-Beethoven-Saal, Germany (03/23/2012).


Two amazing choral works from Poulenc
This disc contains two works from different periods of Poulenc’s life. As indicated in the brief but well-written liner notes, the first was written later in the composer’s life after the death of a friend. The NDR Choir sounds fantastic, providing just the right balance and focus with the orchestra. Marlis Petersen is featured here, singing the soprano part, and she is *amazing* -- at times sensitive, at times strong, but always lyrical and feeling. I was not familiar with Ms. Petersen before, but I will definitely be on the look-out for other works featuring her.

The second work was a commissioned ballet score when Poulenc was in his 20s. While I was certainly aware that Poulenc had written a great many pieces over his lifetime, I was primarily familiar with his various clarinet and violin repertoire. I have done myself a disservice by not exploring this composer further, as I found myself enjoying Les Biches quite a bit.

The sound quality is excellent, and kudos to conductor Stephane Deneve for finding and keeping a good balance between the orchestra, choir, and soloist. I found it very easy to just get lost in the music, so well was it performed. I really enjoyed this disc from start to finish. Very highly recommended.

Submitted on 02/18/13 by KlingonOpera 
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Works Details

>Poulenc, Francis : Stabat Mater, for soprano, chorus & orchestra, FP 148
  • Performer: Marlis Petersen (Soprano)
  • Conductor: Stéphane Denève
  • Ensemble: Stuttgart Vocal Ensemble SWR
  • Running Time: 29 min. 17 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1950-1951

>Poulenc, Francis : Les biches (The Does), ballet, FP 36
  • Conductor: Stéphane Denève
  • Notes: Funkstudio, SWR Stuttgart (03/03/2012-03/15/2012)
  • Running Time: 32 min. 45 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Ballet
  • Written: 1923