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Jean Martinon

The Deutsche Grammophon Legacy (4CD)

In the vast vacuum left by Arturo Toscanini`s retirement and death, French conductors were prominent among those who dominated the orchestral scene, especially in America. One of the most gifted was Jean Francisque-Etienne Martinon (1910-1976). His complete recordings for Deutsche Grammophon (as both conductor and composer) are here collected for the first time.


Our first three discs contain the recordings Martinon made for Deutsche Grammophon, featuring two French orchestras, the Lamoureux and his own radio band, Orchestre National de l`ORTF. It is interesting to hear the old French woodwind and horn sound, with its pronounced vibrato, which still survived in the conductor`s lifetime; the woodier French bassoon sound is also extremely characterful.

The orchestral works (Bizet, Lalo) are followed by concerto collaborations with the great cellist, Pierre Fournier (1906-1986), in concertos by Lalo and Saint-Saens, as well as Bruch`s popular Kol Nidrei. As with Fournier, Martinon collaborated only once with harpist Nicanor Zabaleta (1907-1993) in the studio: in October 1969, with his own orchestra, they set down three major twentieth-century compositions for the harp by Saint-Saens, Tailleferre and Ginastera, the concerto by Ginastera appearing on CD for the first time.

As a bonus, we have one of Martinon`s finest compositions for his own instrument. He wrote his first violin concerto, the Concerto giocoso, in 1937, but did not produce its successor until 1960. It was stimulated by the playing of the inimitable Polish-born virtuoso Henryk Szeryng (1918-88), who gave the premiere in 1961 and left at least two live recordings, including one with the composer conducting. The studio recording, made under ideal conditions in Munich with Rafael KubelO­k on the podium, is considered one of the foremost performances of a modern violin concerto. The music is the work of a composer who has taken cognisance of all the trends in the twentieth century, including serialism, and has evolved his own style. In a rave review in The Gramophone, the discriminating critic, Lionel Salter, described this style as `free tonality` and `post-Walton` and singled out the central movement for special praise.

CD 1


Symphony in C major, WD 33
La Jolie fille de Perth, WD 15: Scènes bohemienne
Jeux d’enfants: Suite

Namouna: Ballet for Orchestra: Suite No. 1

CD 2


Namouna: Ballet for Orchestra: Suite No. 2
Rapsodie norvégienne for orchestra

Orchestre National de l’ORTF
Jean Martinon
Cello Concerto in D minor
Kol Nidrei: Rhapsody for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 47

CD 3


Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Op. 33
Pierre Fournier, cello
Orchestre des Concerts Lamoureux
Jean Martinon
Morceau de concert in G major, for Harp and Orchestra, Op. 154
Concertino for Harp and Orchestra
Concerto for Harp and Orchestra, Op. 25*
Nicanor Zabaleta, harp
Orchestre National de l’ORTF
Jean Martinon


CD 4


Violin Concerto No. 2, Op. 51
Henryk Szeryng, violin
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Rafael Kubelík