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Albert Wolff conducts the French and Russian music
30.10.2010, 08:19

Albert Wolff

(19 January 1884 – 20 February 1970) was a French conductor and composer of Dutch descent. Most of his career was spent in European venues, with the exception of two years that he spent as a conductor at the Metropolitan Opera and a few years in Buenos Aires during the Second World War. He is most known for holding the position of principal conductor with the Opéra-Comique in Paris for several years. He was married to the French mezzo-soprano Simone Ballard. Wolff was born on 19 January 1884 in Paris, France. His parents were Dutch which has caused some sources to identify Wolff as a Dutch composer. However, Wolff spent most of his life in France and was born a French citizen. He never lived in the Netherlands or was ever a citizen of that country. Wolff began his musical studies at the Paris Conservatoire at age 12. While at the conservatory he studied under such distinguished teachers as André Gedalge, Xavier Leroux, and Paul Antonin Vidal. At the same time he played the piano in cabarets and was organist at St Thomas-d'Aquin, Paris for four years. Upon graduation at the age of 22, Wolff was awarded first prizes in harmony and accompaniment. In 1906 he joined the staff of the Opéra-Comique, the theatre which became the centre of his career, while leading ensembles elsewhere in the city of Paris. Wolff made his conducting debut at an opera gala in Strasbourg on 9 May 1909, following this by getting as much experience as possible with many short engagements in all operatic genres around France. Meanwhile, in 1908, Wolff was appointed chorus master at the Opéra-Comique. This was his first experience with any form of stage work. He remained in that position for three years before being given an opportunity to conduct the premiere of Laparra's La jota. Impressed with his performance, the Opéra-Comique took him with them to Argentina in 1911 where he conducted the Buenos Aires premiere of Pelléas et Mélisande at the Teatro Colón. He later conducted the opera again in its premieres in Naples, Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm. He continued as a conductor at the Opéra-Comique until the outbreak of World War I. Throughout that conflict, Wolff served his country first as at Les Éparges, then as a pilot (including a tour of Morocco), and was decorated for his courage. At the end of the War, Wolff went to the United States to join the conducting staff at the Metropolitan Opera, replacing Pierre Monteux in the French repertoire. His made his debut on 21 November 1919, in Gounod's Faust. Although Wolff's work with the company received consistently positive reviews from critics, he spent less than two full seasons at the Metropolitan Opera. While with the company Wolff was able to conduct several performances of his own opera L'oiseau bleu, the premiere being in the presence of Maurice Maeterlinck, whose play of the same name the opera was based on. Wolff returned to the Opéra-Comique in 1921, succeeding André Messager as chief conductor, a position he held for the next three years. He notably conducted the first Paris performances of L'enfant et les sortileges and Angélique by Ibert, and the world premiere of Le brebis égarée (1923) by Milhaud. Around this same time, he founded the Concerts Modernes Paris to provide a medium for the public performance of new works. In 1924 he resigned his post at the Opéra-Comique and became musical director of the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. In 1925 he became second conductor of the Concerts Pasdeloup, greatly extending his work in purely orchestral music (including an appearance at the Royal Albert Hall, London in 1926); he later served as head conductor and director of the Pasdeloup from 1934–1940. From 1928 to 1934 he became principal conductor of the Orchestre Lamoureux. He notably conducted the premiere of Roussel's 4th symphony (which was dedicated to him) with the Orchestre Lamoureux in October 1935; he had previously made the premiere recording of Roussel's 3rd symphony with the Lamoureux. In 1938 he was twice a guest conductor at the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra; in 1947 he conducted the same orchestra with Geirr Tveitt in a recording of the latter's 3rd piano concerto. Wolff conducted the premieres of the opéra-comiques L'École des maris (1935) and Madame Bovary (1951) by Emmanuel Bondeville. In 1945 he became director of the Opéra-Comique for a short while. While there he conducted the first performance of Les mamelles de Tirésias (1947) and although he resigned from the position not long after he took it, Wolff continued to conduct occasionally at the theatre up until his death in 1970. He conducted 124 performances of Pelléas et Mélisande at the house, more than any other conductor. He also became associated with the Paris Opera where he became a conductor beginning in 1949. Having made a couple of records with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in 1928, Albert Wolff made many recordings of French orchestral music for Polydor in Paris in the 1930s, along with some Russian pieces, and abridged versions of Faust and La Bohème (in French). In the 1950s he set down opera and orchestral music for Decca in stereo, including a complete Carmen, L'école des maris by Bondeville and the complete music (in the context of the play) for L'Arlésienne. With the Paris Conservatoire Orchestra his discography included Adam: Giselle (complete) and Glazunov The Seasons, overtures by Berlioz, Auber, Hérold, Suppé, Nicolai and Reznicek, orchestral works by Falla, Ravel, Lalo and Franck, Charpentier Impressions d'Italie and Massenet's Scènes Pittoresques and Scènes Alsaciennes. With the Pasdeloup Orchestra he recorded Landowski's Symphony No 1 'Jean de la Peur'.

Emmanuel Chabrier


Orchestre de L'Association des Concerts Lamoureux, 1932

Claude Debussy

Nocturnes for Orchestra: no 1, Nuages

Orchestre de L'Association des Concerts Lamoureux, 1930

Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune

Orchestre de L'Association des Concerts Lamoureux, 1929

Gabriel Fauré

Pelléas et Mélisande, Op. 80

Berliner Philharmoniker, 1928

César Franck

Psyché, M 47

Orchestre de L'Association des Concerts Lamoureux, 1933

Charles Gounod

Faust (excerpts)

Faust - Rene Lapelletrie

Mephistopheles - Jose Beckmans

Marguerite - Germaine Martinelli

Valentin - Charles Cambon

Orchestre de L'Association des Concerts Lamoureux et Choeurs, 1930

Jules Massenet

Phèdre: Overture

Opera-Comique orchestra, 06.1951

Etienne-Nicolas Méhul

Le jeune Henri: Overture

Orchestre de L'Association des Concerts Lamoureux, 1931

Modest Mussorgsky

Night on the Bare Mountain

Orchestre de L'Association des Concerts Lamoureux, 1929

Maurice Ravel

Pavane pour une infante défunte

Berliner Philharmoniker, 1928

Rapsodie espagnole

Orchestre de L'Association des Concerts Lamoureux, 1933

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

Capriccio espagnol, Op. 34

Orchestre de L'Association des Concerts Lamoureux, 1930

Golden Cockerel: Suite - Bridal procession

Orchestre de L'Association des Concerts Lamoureux, 1930

Camille Saint-Saëns

La princesse jaune, Op. 30: Overture

Opera-Comique orchestra, 06.1951

Albert Wolff

Категория: Аудио | Добавил: Павел | Теги: Méhul, Debussy, Fauré, Franck, Massenet, Chabrier, Wolff, Mussorgsky, Gounod, Ravel
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