OP1951. PADMÂVATÎ (Roussel), Live Performance, 6 July, 1969, London, w.Martinon Cond. BBC Ensemble; Rita Gorr, Albert Lance, Gérard Souzay, Jean Berbié, Philip Langridge, etc.; RITA GORR: Arias from Orfeo, Les Troyens & Tristan, 1960; GÉRARD SOUZAY: Songs by Beethoven, Debussy & Ravel; Arias from Berenice, Orfeo (Monteverdi) & Persée, 1950. (Portugal) 2-Gala 100.573. Long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 8712177038176
“Rita Gorr, an outstanding mezzo-soprano/contralto….made her operatic début at Ghent and Antwerp in 1949 as Hérodiade….In 1952 she was the winner of the prestigious international vocal competition at Lucerne by a unanimous decision of the jury….In the same year she made her début at the Opéra-Comique portraying Charlotte in WERTHER….she was in demand in most of the major opera centers of the world, and in 1958 sang at the Bayreuth Festival….In 1962 she made an auspicious début at the Metropolitan Opera [as Amneris]….Possessor of a colorful warm voice of great range and searing intensity, she is able to sing all the tessitura of mezzo and contralto roles. It was in the portrayals of the dramatic mezzo roles that she excelled, especially in Cherubini’s MEDEA.”
– Richard T. Soper, BELGIAN OPERA HOUSES AND SINGERS, pp.262-64
“The Australian tenor Albert Lance was lucky enough to be the right man at the right place at the right time. He happened to be in Paris in the mid 1950s furthering his vocal training when the Paris Opéra needed a new principal tenor following the retirement of the legendary Georges Thill, who had been France’s ‘national’ tenor for many years. Lance’s voice was so suited to the French repertoire that he became the principal tenor at both the Opéra-Comique and the Palais Garnier and replaced Thill as the leading French tenor for the next two decades….”
- Tony Locantro, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 2015
“Lance's voice was firm and strong…He possessed a voice of a very bright acceptable timbre, and technically he is able to maintain an excellent legato, sing long-breathed phrases and produce stunning high B flats and secure ringing top Cs…”
- Alan Bilgora, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 2013
“In the words of one of his biographers, conductor Jean Martinon's performances ‘were distinguished by a concern for translucent orchestral textures, and sustained by a subtle sense of rhythm and phrasing’. Occasionally, ‘he stressed a poetic inflection at the expense of literal accuracy’.
Martinon's first instrument was the violin; he studied at the Lyons Conservatory (1924-1925), then transferred to the Paris Conservatory, where he won first prize in violin upon his graduation in 1928. He subsequently studied composition, with Albert Roussel, and conducting, with Charles Munch and Roger Desormiere. Until the outbreak of World War II, Martinon was primarily a composer. His early substantial works include a Symphoniette for piano, percussion, and strings (1935); Symphony #1 (1936); Concerto giocoso for violin and orchestra (1937); and a wind quintet (1938). At the start of the war he was drafted into the French army. Taken prisoner in 1940, he passed the next two years in a Nazi labor camp. There, he wrote’ Stalag IX’ (Musique d'exil), an orchestral piece incorporating elements of jazz; during his internment, he also composed several religious works, including ’Absolve’, ‘Domine’ for male chorus and orchestra, and ‘Psalm 136’ (Chant des captifs), the latter receiving a composition prize from the city of Paris in 1946.
Upon his release from the Nazi camp, Martinon became conductor of the Bordeaux Symphony Orchestra (from 1943 to 1945) and assistant conductor of the Paris Conservatory Orchestra (from 1944 to 1946), then associate conductor of the London Philharmonic (from 1947 to 1949). He toured as a guest conductor as well, although his U.S. debut did not come until 1957, with the Boston Symphony giving the American premiere of his Symphony #2. Although he devoted as much time as he could to composing in the early postwar years -- producing a string quartet (1946), an ‘Irish’ Symphony (1948), the ballet ‘Ambohimang’a (1946), and the opera HÉCUBE (1949-1954) -- he was increasingly occupied with conducting, working with the Concerts Lamoureux (from 1951 to 1957), the Israel Philharmonic (from 1957 to 1959), and Dusseldorf Symphony Orchestra (from 1960 to 1966). Martinon resumed his career as a composer around 1960, writing his Violin Concerto #2 (1960) for Henryk Szeryng, his Cello Concerto (1964) for Pierre Fournier, and his Symphony #4 (‘Altitudes’), composed in 1965, for the 75th anniversary of the Chicago Symphony. He acknowledged Prokofiev and Bartók as strong influences on his scores, which meld Expressionism with French Neoclassicism. Martinon continued composing into the 1970s, but he seldom recorded any of his own music, with the notable exceptions of the Second Symphony, ‘Hymne la vie’ (ORTF, for Barclay Inedits) and Fourth Symphony, ‘Altitudes"’ (Chicago SO, for RCA).
In 1963, he succeeded Fritz Reiner as head of the Chicago Symphony. Martinon's tenure there was difficult. In five seasons, he conducted 60 works by modern European and American composers, and made a number of outstanding LPs for RCA, mostly of bracing twentieth century repertory in audiophile sound. Chicago's conservative music lovers soon sent him packing.
Martinon jumped at the chance to take over the French National Radio Orchestra in 1968; working with this ensemble, he recorded almost the entire standard French repertory for Erato and EMI. His earlier Erato efforts that focused on such secondary but nevertheless interesting figures as Roussel, Pierne, and Dukas, whereas EMI assigned him integral sets of the Saint-Saens symphonies and the orchestral works of Debussy and Ravel, among other projects. In 1974, he was appointed principal conductor of the Residentie Orkest in The Hague, but he died before that relationship could bear much fruit.”
- James Reel, allmusic.com