Friday, August 31, 2012

Preview: "We'll live in Paris, together" -- a mystery theme and a mystery duet-fragment

Or, more properly, Andante sostenuto:

by Ken

For tonight's preview, we have a mystery theme, above, and a mystery duet-fragment, below. Before we proceed to it, though, I thought we might hear a somewhat fuller setting of our above theme -- starting a bit earlier in the piece and continuing on a bit longer, though still not quite to the end. We'll hear the whole thing (a whopping four minutes at its most drawn-out), properly identified, in the click-through. I think this is some of the most beautiful and moving music ever written, and its source is a piece that has a somewhat grudging place in the standard repertory but for a number of reasons doesn't get the respect I think it deserves.




NOW LET'S HAVE OUR DUET-FRAGMENT

We'll have these same performances, properly identified, in the click-throughd, so if you're not interested in hearing them blind, as it were, you can skip straight to there.

"Nous vivrons à Paris, tous les deux!"
("We'll live in Paris, together!")

HIM: We'll live in Paris . . .
HER: Together!
HIM: . . . together, and our loving hearts . . .
HER: In Paris!
HIM: . . . bound to one another . . .
HER: In Paris!
HIM: . . . for ever reunited . . .
HER [together]: We'll have only blessed days!
HIM [together]: . . . there we'll live only blessed days!
TOGETHER: In Paris! In Paris, together!
We'll live in Paris! Together!
HIM [approaching HER tenderly; soulfully]: And my name will become yours!
[then coming back to himself; half-spoken] Ah, pardon!
HER: In my eyes you must see well
that I am not angry with you.
And yet, it's wrong!
HIM: Come! We'll live in Paris . . .
HER: Together! &c.
[A]

[B]

[C]

[D]



FOR OUR COMPLETE MYSTERY PIECE, AND
DULY IDENTIFIED VERSIONS OF OUR DUET --




It was one of Beverly Sills's fondest (and finest) roles, and 40-plus years later Nicolai Gedda is sounding awfully good -- and so is Julius Rudel's conducting of this long and intricate score.


FIRST, LET'S HEAR THE WHOLE OF THE
PRELUDE TO JULES MASSENET'S MANON


The first performance here, conducted by Julius Rudel, a through-and-through Viennese who had an uncanny affinity for French music of all sorts, is the one we heard excerpted earlier in the post. The other performance isn't bad at all, but I would argue that at every point in just about every way it's just not as good.

MASSENET: Manon: Prelude


New Philharmonia Orchestra, Julius Rudel, cond. ABC-EMI-DG, recorded July 1970

Symphony Orchestra of the Monnaie (Brussels), Antonio Pappano, cond. EMI, recorded Apr.-May 1999


NOW WE COME TO OUR DUET-FRAGMENT WITH
THE ONLY-JUST-MET MANON AND DES GRIEUX


MASSENET: Manon: Act I, Scene, des Grieux and Manon, "Nous vivrons à Paris, tous les deux!" ("We'll live in Paris, together!")
DES GRIEUX: We'll live in Paris . . .
MANON: Together!
DES GRIEUX: . . . together, and our loving hearts . . .
MANON: In Paris!
DES GRIEUX: . . . bound to one another . . .
MANON: In Paris!
DES GRIEUX: . . . for ever reunited . . .
MANON [together]: We'll have only blessed days!
DES GRIEUX [together]: . . . there we'll live only blessed days!
TOGETHER: In Paris! In Paris, together!
We'll live in Paris! Together!
DES GRIEUX [approaching MANON tenderly; soulfully]: And my name will become yours!
[then coming back to himself; half-spoken] Ah, pardon!
MANON: In my eyes you must see well
that I am not angry with you.
And yet, it's wrong!
DES GRIEUX: Come! We'll live in Paris . . .
MANON: Together! &c.

[A] Nicolai Gedda (t), Chévalier des Grieux; Beverly Sills (s), Manon; New Philharmonia Orchestra, Julius Rudel, cond. ABC-EMI-DG, recorded July 1970

[B] Roberto Alagna (t), Chévalier des Grieux; Angela Gheorghiu (s), Manon; Symphony Orchestra of the Monnaie (Brussels), Antonio Pappano, cond. EMI, recorded Apr.-May 1999

[C] Giuseppe di Stefano (t), Chévalier des Grieux; Licia Albanese (s), Manon; Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Fausto Cleva, cond. Live performance, Dec. 15, 1951

[D] Cesare Valletti (t), Chévalier des Grieux; Victoria de los Angeles (s), Manon; Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Pierre Monteux, cond. Live performance, Dec. 18, 1954


IN THIS WEEK'S SUNDAY CLASSICS POST

Yes, we're going to be poking around Manon. It's not entirely impossible that we might sidestep into Puccini's parallel opera, Manon Lescaut.
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