The house conductor: Gustave Cloez
b. 1890, Quincy, France; d. 1970, Paris, France
- 1922-1946: Conductor, Opéra-Comique
- 1955-1957: Conductor, Grand Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas
Gustave Cloez studied piano at the Paris Conservatory with Charles-Wilfrid de Bériot and Lazare Lévy. He conducted at the Opéra-Comique in Paris between 1922 and 1946, at Radio Paris and with the Paris Conservatoire Orchestra during World War II, with the Grand Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas and the Bordeaux Opera, both for two years from 1955 to 1957. During the era of the 78rpm record he recorded extensively, and was closely associated with the French Odéon company. In many of the recordings that he made Cloez accompanied the principal singers of the day: among these were many illustrious examples of the French tradition such as the sopranos Germaine Cernay, Emma Luart, Lily Pons, and Ninon Vallin; the tenors David Devriès, Charles Friant and Gaston Micheletti; and the bass André Pernet. The repertoire of these recordings was predominantly that of the Paris Opera and Opéra-Comique, with Gounod (Faust, Mireille, Roméo et Juliette) and Massenet (Hérodiade, Le Jongleur de Notre Dame, Manon, Sapho, Werther) well represented. Cloez also conducted novelties such as excerpts from Rabaud's opera Marouf and Reyer's Sigurd, as well as Debussy's L'Enfant prodigue and excerpts from Pelléas et Mélisande. He was well known for his conducting of excerpts from Carmen with the Spanish mezzo-soprano Conchita Supervia singing the title role. Many of these recordings were made in the early years of electrical recording, between 1927 and 1930, before the Depression began to bite into the profitability of the sound recording industry.
Cloez also conducted numerous purely orchestral recordings with many of the Paris orchestras, as well as the Orchestra of the Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas. Among these recordings are lesser-known works from the period, such as the 'entr'acte symphonique' from Bruneau's opera Messidor, as well as standard repertory, such as excerpts from the operas of Wagner. He also recorded Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 2 and Hungarian Fantasy with Raymond Trouard. Cloez was one of several conductors active between the wars in Paris who was called upon by the recording companies to work in their studios: other contemporaries included Eugène Bigot, Elie Cohen, Piero Coppola, Henri Defosse, Philippe Gaubert, and François Ruhlmann. All these musicians were masters of the French operatic style, and their recordings provide valuable insights into a musical understanding now largely forgotten.
- Gounod, Faust Ballet Music I - (a) Les Nubiennes (b) Danse Antique (flac file), Opera Comique Orchestra cond. G. Cloez, XXP6467-2, Parlophone E 10714
- Gounod, Faust Ballet Music II - Andante (flac file), Opera Comique Orchestra cond. G. Cloez, XXP6468-2, Parlophone E 10714
- Gounod, Faust Ballet Music III - (a) Cléopatre (b) Les Troyennes (flac file), Opera Comique Orchestra cond. G. Cloez, XXP6469-2, Parlophone E 10715
- Gounod, Faust Ballet Music IV - (a) Variations du Miroir (b) Danse de Phryné (flac file), Opera Comique Orchestra cond. G. Cloez, XXP6470-2, Parlophone E 10715