Magazine article Gramophone

Honegger: Jeanne d'Arc Au Bucher

Magazine article Gramophone

Honegger: Jeanne d'Arc Au Bucher

Article excerpt

Honegger [DVD] Jeanne d'Arc au bucher Marion Cotillard spkr                            Jeanne Xavier Gallais spkr                     Frere Dominique Yann Beuron ten                  Porcus/Herald I/Cleric Maria Hinjosa sop                            The Virgin Marta Almajano sop                           Marguerite Aude Extremo contr                            Catherine 

Anna Moreno-Lasalle spkr ... La mere aux tonneaux Lieder Camera Choir; Madrigal Choir; Vivaldi-Petits Cantors de Catalunya Choir; Barcelona Symphony and Catalonia National Orchestra / Marc Soustrot

Stage director Jean-Pierre Loisil Label (F) ALPHA709; (F) [DVD] ALPHA708 (75' * DDD * NTSC * 16:9 * O * s) Recorded live at the Sala Pau Casals, L'Auditori, Barcelona. November 17, 2012

The first collaboration between Arthur Honegger and Paul Claudel, Jeanne d'Arc au bucher, dates from 1938, though it only acquired definitive form in 1944 when composer and writer, conscious of Jeanne's status as an icon of wartime resistance, added the haunting prologue that equates occupied France with the primal chaos that preceded the Creation. Immensely powerful, it remains a difficult piece to get right in performance. The dramaturgy is rooted in Claudelian ideas of total theatre, which look back to Wagnerian concepts of Gesamtkunstwerk and forwards to late-20thcentury multimedia experimentation, and the non-linear, symbolist narrative can seem fragmentary if not carefully handled. Jeanne and Frere Dominique, the spiritual comforter who prepares her for martyrdom, are played by actors: as Jacques Bonnaure's booklet-notes remind us, the equal weight given to speech and song has antecedents in opera comique.

Though intended for the theatre, we encounter it more frequently in the concert hall, and this new recording, issued simultaneously on CD and DVD, derives from a 2012 performance at Barcelona's Sala Pau Casals. …

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