Arthur Honeggers Jeanne d´Arc au bûcher

Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher is one of the most inventive oratorios ever composed, constantly flitting between styles and colours. It follows the historic French heroine in the hours leading up to her execution.
Cover Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher image: Concertgebouworkest
Cover Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher image: Concertgebouworkest

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Indeed, the run-up to her death sentence is reconstructed as if in a crime novel. Paul Claudel's lively libretto contrasts Jeanne with an assorted lot of strange and wonderful characters. More than enough reason for Honegger to open up a colourful paintbox: the work features a succession of choral passages infused with spirituality, cubist-like blocks of sound and even bits of material reminiscent of the music hall. This is grist to conductor Stéphane Denève's mill, who is a leading authority on French music and a regular guest with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra; together with two choirs and a variety of soloists and actors, he realized a compelling and moving Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher.

Performers

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Stéphane Denève, conductor

Judith Chemla (Jeanne d’Arc)
Jean-Claude Drouot (Frère Dominique)
Christian Gonon (récitant)
Adrien Gamba-Gontard (récitant)

Claire de Sévigné, soprano
Christine Goerke, soprano
Judit Kutasi, mezzo-soprano
Jean-Noël Briend, tenor
Steven Humes, bass

Rotterdam Symphony Chorus
Wiecher Mandemaker, chorus master

Netherlands Children’s Choir
Wilma ten Wolde, chorus master

Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher by the Concertgebouw Orchestra under the baton of Stéphane Denève (photo: Jan Hordijk)
Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher by the Concertgebouw Orchestra under the baton of Stéphane Denève (photo: Jan Hordijk)

Press quotes

'Unforgettable Jeanne d’Arc'
- Erik Voermans, Parool

'An inspiring Jeanne d’Arc'
- Martin Toet, Place de l'Opera

'An intense Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher from the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.' *****
- Jenny Camilleri, Bachtrack

Playlist

01. Prologue 7:36
02. Scène I. Les Voix du Ciel 2:10
03. Scène II. Le Livre 3:39
04. Scène III. Les Voix de la Terre 4:11
05. Scène IV. Jeanne livrée aux bêtes 9:21
06. Scène V. Jeanne au poteau 3:29
07. Scène V. Jeanne au poteau 5:13
08. Scène VII. Catherine et Marguerite 3:16
09. Scène VIII. Le Roi qui va-t-à-Rheims 11:26
10. Scène IX. L’Épée de Jeanne 15:49
11. Scène X. Trimazô 0:51
12. Scène XI. Jeanne d’Arc en flammes 12:09
  Total playing time 79:16

Live recording, 27 & 28 September 2018, Concertgebouw Amsterdam