C0012. JEAN FOURNET Cond. National Orchestra and Choir of the ORTF; Jeanne Baudry-Godard (Organ), Bernard Demigny, Christiane Eda-Pierre, Remy Corazza & Bernard Kruysen: REQUIEM; VEZELAY (both Inghelbrecht). (France) Andre Charlin AMS 88, recorded 1996, Slipcase Edition. Excellent, ever-so-slightly used copy. - 3481801008827
"Methodical, unflappable (he is said to have seldom raised his voice), and subtle in the ways of the French repertory, Jean Fournet saw his career extend over an extraordinarily long period. After having established himself in his native country, he proved a welcome addition to opera companies in America, where the French style had become something of a lost art. Beyond stage work, he proved, both early and late, a persuasive interpreter of the French symphonic literature. After studies at the Paris Conservatoire, Fournet made his debut in his native city in 1936; two years later, he was engaged by Rouen on a permanent basis. In 1940, he moved to Marseilles and, beginning in 1944, presided over the Paris Opéra-Comique as music director, simultaneously offering instruction in the art of conducting at the Ecole Normale. In the 1950s, he was involved in several recording projects that enhanced his reputation considerably, notably his Fauré REQUIEM and a lightly turned LES PECHEURS DE PERLES. Two further appointments awaited him in Europe before he turned to a regimen of guest conducting: in 1961 he became conductor of the Netherlands Radio Symphony, and from 1968 to 1973, he served as artistic director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. Fournet made his American opera debut with the Chicago Lyric Opera in 1965 directing a double bill consisting of a staged CARMINA BURANA and Ravel's magical L'HEURE ESPAGNOLE, the latter with Teresa Berganza, Alfredo Kraus, and Sesto Bruscantini. The conductor impressed immediately as one who could imprint elegance and respect for French style on his casts. His success led to further assignments, each helping reestablish the French wing in a city that had known great French artists in decades past. Among the productions were LES PECHEURS DE PERLES in 1966, another double bill (LE ROSSIGNOL and OEDIPUS REX) in 1968, WERTHER in 1971, PELLEAS ET MELISANDE in 1972, MANON in 1973, and DON QUICHOTTE in 1974. In 1987, Fournet made his Metropolitan Opera debut conducting a production of SAMSON ET DALILA. In addition to a number of orchestral discs, Fournet recorded the aforementioned LES PECHEURS DE PERLES for Philips with Léopold Simoneau and Pierrette Alarie, still unsurpassed. Fournet's Fauré and Berlioz Requiems are also impressive, likewise his 1973 Chicago MANON with Kraus and Zylis-Gara."
- Erik Eriksson, allmusic.com
"The first performance of Debussy's PELLEAS ET MELISANDE in 1902 made a major impact upon Inghelbrecht and he was to be associated with the music of that composer throughout his life. Jacques Rouche engaged Inghelbrecht as conductor at the Theatre des Arts in 1908, where he directed the first performance of Florent Schmitt's LA TRAGEDIE DE SALOME, and in 1911 he was chorusmaster for the stage premiere of Debussy's mystery-play with dance, LE MARTYRE DE SAINT SEBASTIEN; he later conducted with distinction its revival as a concert piece in 1912. In order to give Paris a first-class choir, Inghelbrecht founded the Association Chorale Professionelle in 1912 and in the same year was appointed director of music at the newly constructed Theatre des Champs-Elysees, where he conducted the theatre's opening season productions. These included Berlioz's BENVENUTO CELLINI, Mussorgsky's BORIS GODUNOV, and Dukas' LA PERI.
After World War I in 1919, Inghelbrecht founded the Concerts Pleyel with the objective of performing the music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. He toured Europe with the Ballets Suedois between 1920 and 1923, conducting the first performances of LES MARIES DE LA TOUR EIFFEL by Les Six, and Milhaud's L'HOMME ET SON DESIR (both in 1921) and on his return to France became chief conductor at the Opéra-Comique, Paris (1924-1925). He then held a succession of posts - second conductor at the Concerts Pasdeloup (1928-1932), chief conductor of the Algerian Opera (1929-1930), and once again chief conductor at the Opéra-Comique (1932-1933) - before embarking upon his major achievement: the formation in 1934 of the top radio orchestra in France, the Orchestre National de Radio France, of which he was chief conductor until the liberation of France at the end of World War II. He continued to conduct this orchestra until the end of his life, including on tour to England in 1953, even during the years (1945-1950) when he was chief conductor at the Paris Opera.
Inghelbrecht knew Debussy well, and specialised in the performance of his music throughout his career. He recorded works by Debussy both before and after World War II, on 78rpm and long-playing records, keeping alive a style of interpretation which he sedulously maintained to the end of his life. His performances of Debussy's music were direct and precise, and without any hint of 'impressionism'. His own compositions, especially those written when he was young, clearly showed the influence of Debussy. Among the most well-known of his works are LA NURSERY, composed between 1905 and 1932, the ballet EL GRECO of 1920, and the REQUIEM of 1941. He also wrote several books on different aspects of conducting."
- David Patmore, A-Z of Conductors