Delightful, and hardly known, orchestral fantasies
R. J. Stove | Gardenvale, Victoria Australia | 08/05/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"OK, I give up. Why isn't every orchestra tackling these delightful fantasies, which are at least as attractive as the same composer's reasonably celebrated SYMPHONY ON A FRENCH MOUNTAIN SONG? Especially beguiling is KARADEC, which started life as instrumental music for a play based on Breton legends, and which suggests that d'Indy had undergone comprehensive exposure to Bizet's L'ARLESIENNE.
Although neither orchestra nor conductor has ever come my way before, both are unusually good, with only a very few bits of uneven ensemble to indicate that this German band is not, after all, the Berlin Philharmonic or the Dresden Staatskapelle. This performance of SOUVENIRS (written as a memorial to the first Mme d'Indy) sounds a little stolid and generalized beside the one directed by James DePreist on Koch, who brings higher gloss and more Romantic passion to the piece, who makes more of the poignant cello solos, and whose recording is even better engineered. Still, if you cannot obtain or cannot afford the DePreist, Gilles Nopre's account will do very nicely, thank you. To think that we get the luxury of choosing between two such satisfying and well-recorded versions! Such generosity seldom happened in the LP era."
D'INDY'S DANDY MEMORIES
Mahler Man | TEXAS, United States | 08/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What do you see in a mirror? Perhaps the entire sweep of a lifetime, and associated memories. The reflected memories both happy and sad. Marco Polo has issued a disc of three works by Frenchman Vincent D'Indy spanning roughly fifteen years, and providing a musical glimpse of this man's reflection on his varied memories.
The earliest music is from KARADEC (1892). Presented are three excerpts in the form of a "petite suite". The prevailing mood is that of gentle nostalgia, although there are moments of heightened emotion. D'Indy made use of Breton folk material in the finale, which takes the form of a happy wedding celebration.
The 1898 production of D'Indy's theatrical work MEDEE marked the beginning of his newly founded Schola Cantorum for "new French music". The influences of two composers, Wagner and Franck, are felt in this piece. The work contains six distinct scenes, and the composer explores his literary subject using subtle musical poetry.
The final work on the disc is also the most personal, SOUVENIRS, of 1905. While the other pieces so far comprise the composer's "working music" by showcasing D'Indy's skill at adapting folk and literary material, SOUVENIRS is D'Indy's autobiography. There is a sense of sadness and of lost love in this creation, not surprising since the death of the composer's wife inspired it. The music is wonderfully affecting, and recalls not only the composer's suffering, but also much of his joy. He allows us to see and to smell the beautiful flower of his life before and after her passing.
Conductor Gilles Nopre and his orchestra are up to the task of recreating the understated shades of this music. The unflashy but competent recording assists in providing a clear reflection of the composer. Recommended, especially for the earnestness of SOUVENIRS.
-Peter S. Murano"