Review for GHCD 2416/17 - Pierre Dervaux - Rec. 1957-1961
American Record Guide – November/December 2015
These recordings were made 1957 to 1961, and the sound is excellent. The orchestras are all French, except in the two Glinka pieces, which are played by the Netherlands Philharmonic. Some of the music is also French. Dervaux (1917-92) has the French flair and elan—much like Munch, but purer (Munch was Alsatian). The orchestras never sound thick or heavy; the tempos are always lively and cheerful. From 1956 to 1970 Dervaux was the chief conductor at the Paris Opera, and he certainly knew what to do with overtures. There is nothing profound about his approach to these curtain raisers, but it is all refreshing for its brightness and cheer. Dervaux conducted many recordings I still consider outstanding: Pearlfishers, Dialogues of the Carmelites, and the complete Saint-Saens violin concertos with Ulf Hoescher — still not surpassed. Mostly he worked for EMI France (Pathé). So this is the real thing—real French playing and conducting. It’s completely different from Russian, German, and even American music-making. I find it fresh and cheerful—a nice change from what we are used to. There is absolutely no attempt to appear profound; it’s pure enjoyment.
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