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Salon de Paris - Irnberger, Demus, Ornetsmüller

Salon de Paris - Irnberger, Demus, Ornetsmüller

Gramola  98951

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Chamber


Maurice Ravel: Habanéra
Cécile Chaminade: Sérénade espagnole
Jules Massenet: Méditation from Thaïs
Claude Debussy: Clair de lune (Suite Bergamasque), Prélude à l'après midi d'un faune
Jörg Demus: 2 compositions.
Gabriel Fauré: Clair de lune
Henri Duparc: Chanson triste

Thomas Albertus Irnberger (violin)
Christine Ornetsmüller (soprano)
Jörg Demus (piano)


Following Salon de Vienne (Gramola 98903), the CD Salon de Paris is now being released by the renowned Salzburg violinist Thomas Albertus Irnberger in conjunction with the great Jörg Demus. This time, with popular melodies and golden oldies of French salon music they take us away into Paris at the turn of the 20th century. Apart from a Habanéra by Maurice Ravel and the Sérénade espagnole by Cécile Chaminade, the Méditation from Thaïs by Jules Massenet or pieces such as Clair de lune from the Suite Bergamasque or the Prélude à l'après midi d'un faune by Claude Debussy in arrangements by J. Heifetz, you can also hear two compositions by the exceptional pianist Demus. The magnificent performance by the two musicians is wonderfully enriched by the soprano Christine Ornetsmüller in further songs such as Clair de lune by Gabriel Fauré or the Chanson triste by Henri Duparc.

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Review by Adrian Quanjer - December 22, 2015

Salon de Paris will surely appeal to all those with nostalgic memories of times gone by. No less than close to 70 minutes of sweet melodies, many arranged for violin and piano by such eminent musicians as Nathan Milstein, Jascha Heifetz, Fritz Kreisler, Pablo Casals, and, of course, Jörg Demus and Thomas Irnberger, joined by the soprano Christine Ornetsmüller in 4 ‘chansons’. All in all an interesting idea and ditto programme.

However, the danger resides not so much in the quality of the playing, but rather lies in the quantity on offer. Like a box of chocolates: One has to be careful not to eat too much in one go.

When I say quality, this refers in the first place to Irnberger and his velvety violin, following, indeed, in the footsteps of, say, Milstein and Kreisler. And then, naturally, the sympathetic Nestor of the piano, Jörg Demus. I’m less convinced about the contribution of Ms. Ornetsmüller. With the high notes one recognizes that she is, in fact, a coloratura. But there is a noticable imbalance, which may be due to the fact that the voice of this relatively young soprano is not yet fully developed. But what really is disappointing, is that her texts in French are unintelligible. Even with the in the liner notes provided texts in front of you she is still difficult to follow. This is a real drawback. Gabriel Fauré’s ‘Clair de Lune’ thus becomes a rather misty affair.

As to the sound: Gramola has done much better than this time. The piano is distant and, together with the violin, somewhere up in the air. The surround is too loud, creating an unrealistic sound picture.

While I very much like the idea, I must conclude that this disk, in its present form, poses a number of issues preventing me from making any positive recommendation, other than for Irnberger’s playing and out of respect for Jörg Demus.

Blangy le Château
Normandy, France

Copyright © 2015 Adrian Quanjer and HRAudio.net

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