Desire-Emile Inghelbrecht, Vol. I     (St Laurent Studio YSL 78-052)
Item# C1116
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Desire-Emile Inghelbrecht, Vol. I     (St Laurent Studio YSL 78-052)
C1116. DÉSIRE-ÉMILE INGHELBRECHT Cond. Orchestre des Concerts Pasdeloup: Ma Mère l’Oye (Ravel); L’Apprenti sorcier (Dukas); The Flight of the Bumblebee (Rimsky-Korsakov); In the Steppes of Central Asia; Prince Igor – Polovtsian Dances; Chorus of the Peasants (Borodin). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL 78-052, recorded 1929, Pathé ‘Art’ Label. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.


“Désiré-Emile Inghelbrecht, a member of the original Les Apaches with Maurice Ravel, became associated almost exclusively with the music of Claude Debussy, despite his work in Mussorgsky and Florent Schmitt. St-Laurent Studio resurrects Inghelbrecht’s 1929 electric recordings with the Pasdeloup Concerts Orchestra in the delicate color-work required by Borodin, Dukas, and Ravel. The Ravel MOTHER GOOSE SUITE (1911) based on the children’s tales of Charles Perrault has a sensitive interpreter in Inghelbrecht, who paces the music in plastic and transparent colors. The sense of urgency, of the tragic inexorability of time, present in the Koussevitzky performance from the same period, likewise makes itself manifest in this reading. The oriental harmonies of the ‘Laideronnette’ section ring with pagodas and gamelan pageantry. The solo clarinet in waltz time portrays Beauty as the contrabassoon embodies Beast’s pleas for affection. The waltz tempo underpins the eventual transformation, via a harp glissando, of Beast into the solo violin’s Prince Charming. The entire last section, ‘The Fairy Garden’, embodies an awakening, but it, too, shimmers in a tragic awareness of youth’s frailty and terrible evanescence, what we must construe as ‘Paradise Lost’. Inghelbrecht’s studied peroration reaches a lovely flowering, as splendid as it is aristocratic.

The Dukas c minor Scherzo after the Goethe ballad has never lacked good interpreters, and Inghelbrecht captures its airs of mystery and foolhardy bravado. The playing from the woodwinds enjoys that particularly nasal resonance of Gallic realization, and the attacks remain curt, with brief decay at the cadences. The carefree whimsy of the initial theme places the symphonic poem in a league with the Strauss TILL EULENSPIEGEL, which Inghelbrecht also recorded. The well-restored 78rpm sound reminds us of how brilliantly scored are the interior brass and wind lines. The suave momentum of the music ascends to feverish heights, certainly as our hapless apprentice overestimates his power over the broom and its eldritch progeny. The apprentice’s lament and culminating swat from the Master well mark a sense of poetic justice.

The Russian entries combine deft playing and spirited affection for the repertory, and we must recall that Inghelbrecht brought BORIS GUDONOV to Paris. Of the three Borodin entries, the tone-poem IN THE STEPPES OF CENTRAL ASIA enjoys a leisurely evolution of orchestral colors, opening with the inverted pedal in the strings and proceeding through the winds over pizzicato strings. The nasal muezzin chant invokes a world of throbbing string resonance as fine response in the horns. The blending of the two main themes, always a high moment, possesses a romantic character in this reading.

The ‘Polovtsian Dances’ (with female chorus) from PRINCE IGOR proceed rather beyond the routine and dependable, comparing favorably with performances by Coates and Stokowski, and the Chorus of the Peasants beguiles in its rare vintage of oriental harmony. Once more, the unfiltered restorations prove virile and commanding rather than distracting in their ability to project a musical experience that vibrates with authenticity.”

—Gary Lemco, AUDIOPHILE AUDITION, 26 Feb., 2015

“Désiré-Emile Inghelbrecht was one of the most prominent French conductors of the first half of the twentieth century and a leading champion of the work of composer Claude Debussy. His family was musical: His father was a viola player in the Opéra de Paris and his mother was a pianist and violinist. They taught him the violin early on and enrolled him in the Paris Conservatory's courses on solfège and harmony under Taudou. For whatever reason, after several years there, he was expelled on the ground of ‘musical ineptitude’.

This did not prevent him from getting a musical job, for he joined an orchestra as a violinist. He learned the art of conducting from observation and self-study and débuted as a conductor in 1908 at the Théâtre des Arts. He became friends with Debussy, who asked him to prepare the choruses for the première of LE MARTYR DE ST. SÉBASTIEN in 1911. After this, he became director of music at the Théâtre des Champs Élysées in 1913. In that position, he conducted the first French-language production of Mussorgsky's BORIS GODUNOV.

He remained closely associated with theater music throughout his conducting career. Two major exceptions came in 1928 to 1932 when he led the Pas de Loup Concerts and after 1934, the year in which he founded the Orchestra National de la Radiodiffusion Française. This orchestra, whose name is sometimes given as the French Radio Orchestra or the O.R.F. (later O.R.T.F. Orchestra), is one of Paris' leading orchestras and the country's premier broadcast orchestra. He had two terms as its musical director, 1934 - 1944 and 1951 - 1958. His theatrical appointments included the Ballets Suédois (or Swedish Ballet, a French group despite its name) (1920 - 1923), the Opéra-Comique (1924 - 1925, 1932 - 1933), the Algiers Opéra (1929 - 1930), and the Paris Opéra (1945 - 1950). Throughout his life, he was regarded as the primary champion of Debussy's opera PÉLLEAS ET MÉLISANDE and his recording of it is recognized as an authentic representation of the style of its original performances. He was also a prolific composer in a style similar to those of Debussy or late Fauré, with subtle, clear orchestration. His best-known composition is LE NURSERY (1905 - 1911), a five-volume piano suite that he also orchestrated.”

- Joseph Stevenson,

“Each of these disks, from Canadian engineer Yves St Laurent… [feature] St Laurent's natural transfer – made without filtering, like all his dubbings – it is easy to listen to, despite the surface noise.”

- Tully Potter, CLASSICAL RECORD QUARTERLY, Summer, 2011