This is the finest recording and collection of the music of Jacques Ibert that I know of. After all these years it's still my absolute favorite (and really I am quite the sucker for *any* recording of Ibert, he's rather the unsung master of French music-I dare anyone to find a work by Ibert that isn't extremely appealing, lovingly crafted (by composer and even more so-for his audience!) and bubbling over with Joie de vivre). Ibert's music is simply great listening and a ridiculous amount of fun. Now if only I 'felt' the way the whimsical "Paris" Suite 'sounds'-in other words I'd be a-w-a-k-e. What I'm getting at here is that I am tired. And therefore I am plastering a review from Gramophone up on here as we speak. That is, until I have a tail that is bushy enough and eyes bright enough-to leave a decent thought or two..or three...
Gramophone (from 1995):
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.'
I hope everyone enjoys this musical document that is undoubtedly "desert-island worthy"!