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No thread for Ibert! Quoi d'autre, Talk Classical!

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"Jacques Ibert (15 August 1890 - 5 February 1962) studied music at the Paris Conservatoire from 1910 to 1914. After winning the Grand Prix de Rome in 1919 he stayed at the Villa Medici for three years, writing Escales for orchestra and Histoires for piano, works which rapidly brought him worldwide fame. With his antidogmatic personality Ibert was open to various forms of modernity, and tackled all styles with equal success, producing such major works as his Flute Concerto, the comic opera Angélique, a String Quartet, Symphonie concertante, and the choreographic epic Le Chevalier Errant. As a figurehead in French music - director of the Académie de France in Rome from 1937-1960 with a break for the war years, and administrator of the Paris Opera from 1955-1956 - Ibert was elected to the prestigious Institut de France in 1956."

Any other fans of this worthy composer?
 

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I am a very big fan of Ibert. A lot of people have only heard Escales and maybe the Divertissement, which is a shame. Great wind music, including the flute concerto, Trois pieces breves (three short pieces) for woodwind quintet, and the Entr'acte for flute and guitar or harp. Also noteworthy are Histoires and Petite Suite for piano, operas including Le roi d'Yvetot and Angelique which you mention, and a number of film scores.
His style was characteristically witty and elegant French modern neoclassical, very much in the manner of Milhaud and Poulenc. It's surprising and sad that so many here write endless posts complaining about modern music yet seem to know nothing about the delights of Ibert.
 

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I am a very big fan of Ibert. A lot of people have only heard Escales and maybe the Divertissement, which is a shame. Great wind music, including the flute concerto, Trois pieces breves (three short pieces) for woodwind quintet, and the Entr'acte for flute and guitar or harp. Also noteworthy are Histoires and Petite Suite for piano, operas including Le roi d'Yvetot and Angelique which you mention, and a number of film scores.
His style was characteristically witty and elegant French modern neoclassical, very much in the manner of Milhaud and Poulenc. It's surprising and sad that so many here write endless posts complaining about modern music yet seem to know nothing about the delights of Ibert.
Completely agree - while on my quest to make a guestbook for every composer I know that doesn't have one yet, I was very surprised to find that Ibert (whom I thought was relatively well-known) was missing.
 

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His chamber output is well worth exploring - as with his fellow-countrymen Roussel and Poulenc he liked to compose for slightly unconventional instrumental configurations and Ibert himself seemed to have a particular affinity for the flute. This diversity meant that there were no piano trios, no sonatas for cello/violin with piano and just the one string quartet (I think the SQ is very good) but it certainly makes for an interesting body of work.

This is the rear of the sleeve from the Brilliant Classics reissue of the complete chamber works (originally released on Olympia) which shows how varied his chamber output was:

 

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I think that part of the reason for Ibert being neglected (not only on TC) is that he wrote a number of pieces such as his Divertissement which are just fun, nothing more or less. Even in his less obviously jokey chamber works there is a lively wit going on. Personally I really like that, but to some it will mark out Ibert (and Malcolm Arnold and Franz Reizenstein) as being flippant and shallow. Well, more fool them. Ibert's many and diverse chamber pieces are delightful and, as Elgar's Ghost says in #4, often use unexpected combinations of instruments to good effect.
 

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Ibert's wide-ranging music can be surprising. I mainly knew him from his Concertino for saxophone and his often-performed Trois pièces brèves, but I chanced to hear his orchestral piece The Ballad of Reading Gaol (an early piece from 1920). It was on BBC Radio 3's Through the Night and the title and composer only came later. I never would have guessed it was Ibert, a lot of it sounds more like Debussy or an early Bax symphonic poem.
 

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I think that part of the reason for Ibert being neglected (not only on TC) is that he wrote a number of pieces such as his Divertissement which are just fun, nothing more or less. Even in his less obviously jokey chamber works there is a lively wit going on.
I agree with the "just for fun" assessment. This impression likely led to this CD's cover art:

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It is however a mistake to think of Ibert as just a 'fun' composer. All of his music is solid orchestral and instrumental technique. The problem is everything seems to be judged by dour Germanic output and an overly-serious disposition at every turn. This is usually the reason French composers - who more often show a joie de vivre - are dismissed as 'not serious' or 'lightweight. I find this very exasperating.
 

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Ibert has too much wonderful music to be totally ignored or dismissed by classical music audiences and musicians. I was lucky enough to hear Galway perform his Flute Concerto at Carnegie several years ago. Let's hope programmers see to include more of this great composer's works. His three movement tone poem of Ballade of Reading Gaol would work perfectly in major concert halls as this shows Ibert as a versatile composer who could write deeply moving pieces while retaining his brilliant flair for orchestration.
 

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Ibert is so kind to flutists. I've enjoyed playing, performing, and listening to Deux Interludes a lot since I was 15. So, not to sound like a freak (because I'm SURE this happens to others), but some of Ibert's pieces evoke gorgeous colors, textures, and rich textural movement when playing or listening.

I've always found his equal gifts for composing so well for the intimacy of a trio as well as creating a robust orchestral piece pretty special.
 
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