52,943 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

£11 post-free anywhere
(currently suspended)


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

Bruno Monteiro (violin)

More Preludes to Chopin
Kenneth Hamilton (piano)

Special Price and we are still delivering

Recordings of the Month


Feinberg Piano Sonatas

Schoenberg Violin Concerto

Early Keyboard

Nun Danket Alle Gott
Now Everyone Thanks God


Haydn Scottish Songs

Choral Music

Liszt Sonata

Renaissance Bohemia


Hahn Complete Songs

Piano Sonatas 6,7,8 Osborne

Support us financially by purchasing this from

French Music for Ballet
Henri SAUGUET (1901-1989)
Les Forains [25:15]
Jules MASSENET (1842-1912)
Ballet Suite from Herodiade [9:34]
Jacques IBERT (1890-1962)
Les Amours de Jupiter [33:10]
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra/Neeme Järvi
rec. 2018, Estonian Concert Hall, Talinn
CHANDOS CHAN20132 [68:19]

Henri Sauguet’s ballet Les Forains (The Fairground People) dates from 1945, and was first performed at the Ballets des Champs-Élysées. The piece opens with a prologue, in which the strong principal tune, played by the trumpet, immediately captures the listener’s attention. It is followed by a truly memorable valse lente, which Sauguet later arranged as a song for Edith Piaf. The whole work combines nostalgia with vivacity and considerable melodic invention. There is a charming polka, a rather snakily twisting Barcarolle for a pair of Siamese Twins and a dashing piece for the conjuror. The opening music returns at the close, making a very effective conclusion to most attractive, colourful music.

Music from Massenet’s early opera Herodiade, comes next. It was composed in 1881-84, immediately preceding the record-breaking Manon. It tells a story based on the historical characters King Herod, Herodiade (his wife), Salome, her daughter and John the Baptist. As was de rigeur in those days, an opera had to have a ballet component, and Massenet obliged with colourful dances for Les Égyptiennes, Les Babyloniennes, Les Gauloises and Les Phéniciennes. Whilst I don’t think that these have the degree of memorability that Massenet managed to provide with his orchestral music in Thais and Le Cid, they are exotically scored, with dances that are alternately exciting and languorous. The music is clearly of an earlier generation than that of Sauguet and Ibert, but is no less enjoyable for that.

Finally, I have much enjoyed Ibert’s Les Amours de Jupiter, in which Ibert displays a rather greater subtlety of orchestration than Sauguet and uses it together with his very French musical elegance and ingenuity to compose this imaginative ballet. Like the Sauguet, it was created in 1945 for Petit’s Ballets des Champs-Élysées and is based on a section of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. It begins with a rather grand overture leading to Enlèvement d’Europe opening with a frothy ensemble for girls followed by Europa’s rather sad-sounding solo, followed again by the frothy music, which the amorous Jupiter dramatically interrupts, disguised as a bull and portrayed by the brass. When he gets around to Leda, he disguises himself as a swan, and is portrayed by rather agitated variations that contrast well with the simplicity and slightly bittersweet music provided for Leda’s solo. Both of them come together in an animated pas de deux. The dance of Danaë and her two gaolers shows Ibert at his most energetic, whilst her solo music has a nice clarinet solo amidst their gentle variations. Jupiter then appears as an eagle and transports the young shepherd Ganymede to Mount Olympus. Ibert gives us the most dissonant music in the ballet for Jupiter the eagle, and it develops with a distinctly Spanish sounding momentum, and when he and Ganymede dance the music becomes brassily jazzy. The final apotheosis shows the initial music reprised as Jupiter reconciles with his wife Juno. The ballet medium allows Ibert to demonstrate his melodic invention in a spicy language that is modern without straying into atonality, and I found it to be most agreeably performed here.

As one expects from Chandos, this CD is presented in excellent performances and sound quality, with a booklet in English, German and French that contains detailed descriptions of the music and biographical information.

Jim Westhead
Previous review: Nick Barnard

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger