D.Milhaud / A.Honegger / A.Roussel,
Les Choéphores / Sy.5 / Bacchus et Ariane
I.Markevitch / Orchestre Lamoureux
Markevitch’s Milhaud Mono-Glory
Such is the stuff that golden oldies are made of: Igor Markevitch’s recording of Darius Milhaud’s Les Choéphores, one of Milhaud’s most exciting works. An intoxicating choral tableau (anywhere from Gounod to Dukas) and a distinctly modern early 20th century idiom are interwoven by an inventively scoring hand. Just when you expect another dose of twisted perfume, Milhaud opts for percussion-only sections or lets the chorus growl, speak, huff, hiss, puff, whistle while a speaker rhythmically chants the text. All in 1915, seven years before Walton’s Façade. Good start, but Markevitch lets his hair down in Arthur Honegger’s Symphony No.5 and then puts a Bacchus et Ariane by Roussel that rocks harder than any on record, in glorious 1960s (mono) sound.
Upon re-hearing this disc, I must admit that I was dead-wrong when I dismissed the disc, taking a casual swipe at it in a 2010 Salzburg Festival review of Les Choéphores from 2010.