Notes and Editorial Reviews
The Third Symphony was...favoured by Karajan in the 1950s. It was the product of a composer in his sixties writing in his Normandy home at Vasterival. It was premiered by the Boston SO and Koussevitsky on 24 October 1930. The thud and thunder of the first movement contrasts with the pastoral melancholy meditation of the Adagio. This is followed by the fairground pleasantrie of the Vivace and the massive fountains of exultation of the last movement. No wonder the audience - whose applause forms part of the track - greeted this performance with such warmth.
Le Festin is here given complete across 21 tracks. You are likely to enjoy this music - if you do already know it - if you already number Ravel's Ma Mère l'Oye and
Debussy's Prélude a l'après midi d'un faune among your favourites. It has the magical elegance of the Ravel and the sultriness of the Debussy. Add to this the motorised thunder of Roussel's last two symphonies. It is superbly recorded - listen to the whispering distant gold of the violins in The Ants Dance in a Circle (tr. 16). The instrumental howls in the Funeral of the Gadfly (tr. 24) are memorable. Also in the same movement how similar some of the writing is to Ravel's dawn rustlings in Rapsodie espagnole. Those gentle rustles from the tam-tam suggest Ma Mère l'Oye. Eschenbach heartbreakingly captures the valedictory melancholy of Night falling on the deserted garden but brings out the solace too. This makes for an easy full price choice - poetically done in every aspect.
– Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International
The liner notes for this release make the argument that French modernist Albert Roussel was the greatest composer of his time. It is an argument Christoph Eschenbach and the Orchestre de Paris do much to advance in these live performances. Coupling Le Festin de l'araignée from 1912 and the Symphony No. 3 from 1930, Eschenbach and the Parisian orchestra give Roussel's music the kind of clear-eyed, strong-willed performances that make the most of the composer's best features. Though distinctly of its prewar time, Le Festin de l'araignée nevertheless sounds brightly colorful, lightly ironic, and surprisingly inventive in this smoothly polished and vigorously rhythmic performance. The postwar Third Symphony sounds both of and above its time here, its angular themes, gleaming colors, and muscular rhythms brilliantly brought out by the German conductor and the French orchestra. If Eschenbach and the Parisian musicians' racing finale for the symphony, with its relentless polyrhythms, doesn't get your heart pumping, consult a doctor immediately. Recorded in vibrant live sound complete with appreciative applause, these performances may well convince the listener that Roussel is indeed underrated.
– James Leonard, All Music Guide Read less
Works on This Recording
Le festin de l'araignée, Op. 17 by Albert Roussel
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1912; France
Length: 33 Minutes 14 Secs.
Symphony no 3 in G minor, Op. 42 by Albert Roussel
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1929-1930; France
Venue: Live Live
Length: 26 Minutes 15 Secs.
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