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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDH55168
Recording details: January 1992
Blackheath Concert Halls, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Christopher Palmer
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: November 1992
Total duration: 27 minutes 49 seconds

Le carnaval de Londres, Op 172
composer

Polly  [1'50]
Peachum  [1'05]
Mrs Peachum  [0'47]
Filch  [0'32]
Danse de Filch  [0'33]
Mazurka  [1'06]
Lucy  [1'52]
Masques  [0'49]
Chelsea  [1'08]
Gigue  [0'29]
Romance  [0'54]
Rosy  [1'14]
Cabaret  [0'22]
Deuxième gigue  [0'27]
Valse  [0'45]
Petite marche  [1'01]
Final  [1'40]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
In the years 1935 to 1937 much of Milhaud’s work was written for the theatre, including three Shakespeare scores within twelve months. These were Julius Caesar (December 1936), Romeo and Juliet (April 1937) and Macbeth (November 1937, for the Old Vic in London). Romeo and Juliet was given in Paris by the Théâtre du Mathurins on 7 June 1937 in a translation by Jouve and Pitoëff as part of a British season to mark both the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth the previous month and the International Paris Exhibition. Milhaud wrote several works to celebrate the Exhibition and spent the rest of the summer largely in Provence preparing, among other things, to celebrate his parents’ golden wedding by conducting a concert on Radio Marseille which included the premiere of his Cantate nuptiale, dedicated to his parents who heard the broadcast at home in Aix – a secret kept from them until transmission. Two weeks later Milhaud was in Venice to conduct the premiere of his Suite provençale, and on returning to Provence immediately continued work on an adaptation of John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera for Radio Marseille, done into French by Henri Fluchère.

As was Milhaud’s custom, no sooner had he completed his arrangements of Gay’s ballad-opera than he utilized several of the tunes in a concert work for small orchestra (single wind, timpani, harp, percussion and strings), calling it Le carnaval de Londres and completing it by the end of September. Milhaud conducted the broadcast premiere of his version of The Beggar’s Opera on Radio Marseille; Manuel Rosenthal conducted the first performance of Le carnaval de Londres in 1939 at a Revue Musicale concert. As with Le carnaval d’Aix, it is not necessary to know the story of the seminal work to appreciate the skill and charm, the beauty and allure of this enchanting work, whose joie de vivre is so typical of this composer at his most light-hearted. His settings of the old themes, and folk material – notably Lillibulero – are accomplished with considerable affection and artistry.

from notes by Robert Matthew-Walker © 1992

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