tried to create a vast popular fresco, that is all.” said Arthur Honegger of Jeanne el Arc ait bit cher f joan of Arc at the Stake)—as il that were so easy. He succeeded gloriously, yet the oratorio is seldom heard. I he huge cast of singers and actors simply costs too much. When someone spends the money, audiences invariably take fire. The text, hv Paul Claudel, sets the eclectic tone. Devotion abuts satire. The saint in her ecstasy converses with angels; at her trial, she must answer to a
pig. (Yes, a pig, as in Animal Fann.) Nor does it hurt that Joan, a speaking role, is made to order for a movie star: once Ingrid Bergman, these days the radiant Marthe Keller, who has recorded the work with Seiji Ozawa and the Orchestic National de France (Deutsche Grammophon) and repeats it now with the New York Philharmonic under Kurt Masur (Avery Fisher Hall, New York, April 6-8; 212-721-6500).
Masur with the New York Philharmonic
Austin Baer is a New York-based uniter.