Ibert Orchestral Works

Author: 
Christopher Headington

Ibert Orchestral Works

  • Bacchanale
  • Bostoniana
  • Escales
  • Concerto for Flute and Orchestra
  • Louisville Concerto
  • Suite Symphonique, 'Paris'
  • Hommage à Mozart

Only three works here are currently in the catalogue, namely Escales, the Flute Concerto and Paris, and this enterprising disc deserves a warm welcome. A Prix de Rome winner, Ibert has never had his due as a serious composer, even in France, although there at least he was much in demand for stage and film scores. This is a pity, for his music is superbly crafted and of a life affirming quality rare in our century, even more positive (though no less witty) than that of Poulenc.
Each of these pieces is stylish and finely scored; furthermore, Charles Dutoit and his superb Montreal orchestra perform with skill and panache (as does Timothy Hutchins in the Concerto), while the recording, made in their favourite location of St Eustache's Church, is all that one could ask, encompassing every delicate texture or exciting burst of sound. Thus Escales (1922) has rarely sounded so deliciously Mediterranean and North African. But the real treasure here is the unfamiliar music, which takes us up to the composer's unfinished Second Symphony 40 years later, written for the Boston Symphony and existing only as a single movement, posthumously entitled Bostoniana. As its names suggests, the Louisville Concerto (1953) was also written for an American orchestra, but Paris (1932) is a six-movement symphonic suite that the composer made from his music to a play by Jules Romains with the curious name of Donogoo-Tonka. Finally, Hommage a Mozart (not a pastiche) was commissioned as a tribute for the bicentenary of Mozart's birth. What more need I say? Recommended to all save gloom merchants.'

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