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Magnard: Symphony No. 3; D'indy: Symphonie "cevenole" / Ansermet, Suisse Romande

Release Date: 10/12/2010 
Label:  Cascavelle   Catalog #: 3128   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Albéric MagnardVincent D'Indy
Performer:  Robert Casadesus
Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 4 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

MAGNARD Symphony No. 3. D’INDY Symphony on a French Mountain Air 1 Ernest Ansermet, cond; 1 Robert Casadesus (pn); Suisse Romande O CASCAVELLE VEL 3128, mono (64: 55) Live: Geneva 9/25/1968, 1 10/5/1955

Albéric Magnard was born in 1865 and was killed in 1914 during the German invasion of Read more France. As an aspiring composer, he came under the influence of César Franck and his followers, especially Vincent d’Indy. He wrote four symphonies but the one that seems to be considered his best is his Third, which has been recorded several times, most notably by Ernest Ansermet. For more detail on Magnard symphony recordings, see Fanfare 23:1, 2, and 6, and 22:4. This 1968 Radio Suisse Romande broadcast of Magnard’s Symphony No. 3 took place shortly before Ansermet made a studio recording of the symphony—actually the last one he was to make with L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the orchestra he had founded in 1918.

Probably because of the composer’s studies with d’Indy, Magnard’s Third Symphony is a distant relative of Franck’s Symphony in D Minor, but it is also a more compact, tightly organized work with only hints of religious mysticism. A problem with Michel Plasson’s otherwise respectable (and deleted) recording is that he places too much emphasis on the Franck influence, softening the music, as it were; Ansermet, especially in this live performance, is more emphatic and gives the music more spine. Some may object to the (nevertheless vivid) monaural sound, and the two-channel stereo recording has been reissued, but on a two-CD Decca Eloquence set, coupled with several Liszt pieces including the Faust Symphony that the purchaser may not want. This one will do quite nicely.

This CD finds the Magnard more appropriately coupled with d’Indy’s Symphony on a French Mountain Air , in a splendid collaboration between Ansermet and Robert Casadesus, who had already made a studio recording with Charles Munch and was to make another with Eugene Ormandy. Both of them are sunny, outgoing virtuoso performances, among the better ones, but neither is currently available. This one is quite different: slower, refined, more relaxed, with a more discreet approach by the pianist and subtle tempo adjustments by the conductor. It’s not unlike the recordings of Johanessen/Goosens and Thibaudet/Dutoit, both favorites of mine. Since Ansermet’s recording company didn’t have a recording of the d’Indy in its catalog during the entire LP era, I’m surprised that he never got around to doing one.

FANFARE: James Miller
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Works on This Recording

Symphony no 3 in B flat minor, Op. 11 by Albéric Magnard
Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; France 
Date of Recording: 09/25/1968 
Venue:  Live  RSR Genève 
Length: 37 Minutes 18 Secs. 
Symphony on a French Mountain Air, Op. 25 by Vincent D'Indy
Performer:  Robert Casadesus (Piano)
Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886; France 
Date of Recording: 10/05/1955 
Venue:  Live  RSR Genève 
Length: 25 Minutes 57 Secs. 

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