Karajan: Adam - Giselle (APE)
Karajan: Adam – Giselle (APE)

Composer: Adolphe Adam
Orchestra: Wiener Philharmoniker
Conductor: Herbert von Karajan
Audio CD
SPARS Code:
Number of Discs: 1
Format: APE (image+cue)
Label: Decca
Size: 267 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

01. Giselle / Act 1 – Introduction
02. Giselle / Act 1 – No. 1 Les Vendangeurs
03. Giselle / Act 1 – No. 2 Entrée du Prince
04. Giselle / Act 1 – No. 3 Loys seul – Entrée de Giselle
05. Giselle / Act 1 – No. 4 Retour des Vendangeurs – No. 4(bis) Valse
06. Giselle / Act 1 – No. 5 Pas de Deux
07. Giselle / Act 1 – No.5b La Chasse
08. Giselle / Act 1 – No.7 Marche des vignerons
09. Giselle / Act 1 – No.7a Variation de Giselle
10. Giselle / Act 1 – No. 8 Galop
11. Giselle / Act 1 – No. 8(bis) Final
12. Giselle / Act 2 – No.10 Apparition et scène de Myrtha
13. Giselle / Act 2 – No.11 Apparition de Giselle
14. Giselle / Act 2 – No.13 Entrée de Loys
15. Giselle / Act 2 – No. 14 Scène des Wilis (Entrée d’Hilarion)
16. Giselle / Act 2 – No. 15 Grand pas de deux: a) Andante
17. Giselle / Act 2 – No. 15 Grand pas de deux: b) Variation de Loys
18. Giselle / Act 2 – No. 15 Grand pas de deux: c) Variation de Giselle
19. Giselle / Act 2 – No. 16 Final

Excellent performances

Adolphe Adam’s Giselle has been a favorite of ballet houses for quite some time now, and in one sense it is not hard to see what ballet enthusiasts find attractive about this succession of tuneful, delightfully scored numbers. On the other hand, the work is obviously and almost painfully inferior to the later works by Delibes or Tchaikovsky. The music is atmospheric, tender and includes some rather magical touches, true, but so do a huge number of ballet scores from around the same time and later. In sum, I have to admit that I find the continued popularity of this work somewhat puzzling and suspect it is more due to the inertia of tradition rather than any profound assessment of the intrinsic qualities of the music.

That said, this somewhat shortened version under Karajan provides a more than worthwhile musical experience, not the least because of Karajan’s approach to the score – here, the music emerges as darker and more profound than in many alternative recordings; Karajan seems not to give any thought to the fact that this is music composed for dancing, and prefers rather to view it as something close to a symphonic poem – dramatic and bold and lush. By the same token, I guess this is a version that won’t appeal to all people, and least of all to the regular balletomane. Still, Karajan makes something out of Adam’s music that few others have come even close to doing, and as such I am willing to give it a firm recommendation. Sound quality is excellent; warm and lush and spacious.

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