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**Werther* Naxos 8.660072-73


Massenet, Jules


Blau, Edouard; Hartmann, Georges; Milliet, Paul


Casadesus, Jean-Claude


Lille National Orchestra


Azzaretti, Jael; Bou, Jean-Sebastiene; Delescluse, Jean; Haddock, Marcus;
Marliere, Jean-Philippe; Massis, Rene; Uria-Monzon, Beatrice

Romain Rolland once claimed that the spirit of Massenet sleeps at the heart
of every Frenchman. The most successful opera composer of his generation in
France, Massenet wrote music that has sometimes inspired cynicism and hostility
through its particularly sensuous beauty, a quality that has to some seemed
facile and superficial. The criticism itself may now appear in the same terms.
Massenet coupled technical command with a gift for graceful melody and exercised
a strong influence over his successors, perceptible in the work of Debussy and
of Ravel, as of Puccini. The very charm and grace of his music was to earn him
the nick-name bestowed on him by his enemies, “la fille de Wagner”.

Jules Massenet was born in 1842, the son of a foundry-owner whose prosperity
relied on the production of scythes. A decline in business led the family to
move in 1847 from Saint-Etienne to Paris, where Madame Massenet supplemented
the family income by giving piano lessons, her youngest son among her pupils. At
the age of eleven Massenet entered the Conservatoire, where, in 1863, he won the
Prix de Rome, his residence in Rome bringing some respite

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