Delibes: Sylvia and Coppelia
San Francisco Ballet Orchestra
“…what charm, what wealth of melody!” –Tchaikovsky on Delibes
Leo Delibes’ COPPÉLIA is pure delight, a feast of musicality and humor for all ages. Probably the greatest ballet comedy ever written! On this disc we also present Delibes’ SYLVIA, a romance filled with sighs of longing and the thrill of infatuation. Set in antiquity, the ballet literally places love on a pedestal in the person of the Greek god Eros.
Like many popular compositions, Delibes’ works, including pieces of these ballets, have repeatedly been used in films dating back to the earliest talkies. His music is also a favorite of cartoon series “Ren and Stimpy” and “The Simpsons.”
The San Francisco Ballet, the oldest professional ballet company in America, was also one of the first dance companies to have its own permanent body of musicians. By the 1990s the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra was generally regarded as one of the finest ballet orchestras in the world. Notably, in 1995, the Orchestra accompanied 12 international dance companies, as well as San Francisco Ballet, during the ambitious, weeklong United We Dance Festival, which promoted international communication and understanding.
The San Francisco Ballet Orchestra performs a vast repertory including hundreds of works spanning four centuries of music history, from Monteverdi and Mozart to film scores. The San Francisco Ballet Orchestra has made critically acclaimed recordings of composers from Handel to Goldenthal, as well as five televised recordings for the PBS series “Dance in America” (Helgi Tomasson’s Nutcracker; Lar Lubovitch’s Othello; Michael Smuin’s The Tempest, Cinderella, and Romeo & Juliet)
CONDUCTOR MARTIN WEST is acknowledged as one of the foremost conductors of ballet, garnering critical acclaim throughout the world. West conducted the English National Ballet starting in fall 1997 until 2007. He has worked with many of the top companies in North America, such as New York City Ballet, Houston Ballet and the National Ballet of Canada. In fall 2005, West was appointed music director & principal conductor for the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra.
Founded in San Francisco in 1976, Reference Recordings believes that how a recording sounds is as important as the music itself. RR thanks everyone who was instrumental in bringing this outstanding album to life including Conductor: Martin West; Producers: Victor and Marina Ledin (Multi-Grammy Nominations for Producer of the Year, Classical); Engineer: “Prof.” Keith O. Johnson (Grammy award-winning engineer, inventor and entertainment technologist) and very special thanks to all the Sponsors of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra without whom this recording could not have been made.
On This Recording
- Sylvia – Suite
- Les Chasseresses
- Valse Lente
- Cortège Rustique
- Danse des Ethiopiens
- Chant bachique
- Marche et Cortège de Bacchus
- Pas des Esclaves
- Strette – Galop
- Valse Swanhilde
- Czárdás (Danse hongroise)
- Valse de la poupée
- Valse des Heures
- L’Aurore (Les Fleurs)
- L Prière (La Nuit)
- Le Travail (La Fileuse)
- L’Hymen (Noce villageoise)
- Galop Final
Coppélia – Suite
“…This pairing of suites from the composer’s ballets by the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, the first and still arguably best-standing ballet orchestra in the US, avoids both extremes. Under current music director Martin West, the orchestra revels in the immediacy of the music without ever losing sight of the overall narrative.… Engineer Keith O Johnson’s results befit the label’s audiophile status, creating a sonic space that merges the immediacy of a dance hall with the vibrancy of a concert hall.” — Ken Smith, Gramophone Magazine
“West does hold his own in the massive final apotheosis, aided by the always-formidable Reference Recordings bass drum. West is uniformly excellent in Coppélia…there is plenty of beautiful music-making here… The Reference Recordings bass drum has massive impact…The Reference strings are silky sweet, and I have never heard a triangle reproduced with such clarity and focus. The famous saxophone solo in the “Barcarole” must be heard to be believed…you are not likely to hear a better-recorded performance of these extended suites” — Arthur Lintgen Fanfare Magazine
“Martin West and his San Francisco Ballet Orchestra do a bang-up job… West’s tempos [are] broader in some key movements, and hence more conducive to listening without visuals.… This latest release from Bay Area’s Reference Recordings, captured over two days at Skywalker Sound by Grammy Award–winning recording engineer Keith O. Johnson and recordist Sean Royce Martin, is sensational. That’s SENSATIONAL.” —Jason Victor Serinus, San Francisco Classical Voice
“Led by conductor Martin West, the San Franciscans brings out its many colorful gestures, such as the alto saxophone solo in the Act III barcarolle (Delibes was one of the first composers to write for the alto sax)…There is no profundity here, only the enchanting melodies and rhythms of the dance…” —WQXR