Notes and Editorial Reviews
Yannick Nézet-Séguin leads Orchestre Métropolitan in the rarely-recorded symphonic poem La tragédie de Salomé by Florent Schmitt (1870-1958). Originally a dramatic and sensual ballet score for chamber ensemble, in 1910 Schmitt shortened the work but expanded the orchestration resulting in his best known music.
The orchestra then performs the well-known and emotionally moving Symphony in D minor by César Franck, an excellent contrast as well as a compliment to the rarer Schmitt score which in a more modern sense, shows the influence of Franck.
R E V I E W S:
The heady, smouldering atmosphere of Florent Schmitt's La tragédie de Salomé is
impressively caught here by the Montreal-based Orchestre Métropolitain and its principal conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Originally conceived as an hour-length ballet, La tragédie de Salomé was triggered by the Paris premiere of Richard Strauss's opera in 1907 but based on a less graphic representation of Wilde's play conceived by Robert d'Humières, man of letters and director of the Théâtre des Arts. Schmitt wrote the music and three years later cut it in half to make this symphonic poem. It is a taut piece but one with a broad dramatic sweep, in which Schmitt was able to exercise his interests in exotic music, expound his skills as an orchestrator and even pre-empt Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring in writing music of rhythmic pungency and violence for the final 'Danse de l'effroi'. All thse facets come to light in this vivid but finely judged interpretation, one in whch the orchestral palette is perceptively deployed and Schmitt's evocations of oppressive stillness are as telling as his more frightening statements about Salome's state of mind.
César Franck's Symphony in D makes for an intelligent coupling, not merely because hints of its harmonic language carried over into Schmitt's own vocabulary but chiefly because it presents drama of an abstract nature that contrasts markedly with Schmitt's more theatrically based score. Nézet-Séguin has a strong grasp of the symphony's structure, its ebb and flow of dynamics and pace, and its rich spectrum of orchestral colouring.
-- Geoffrey Norris, Gramophone [6/1/2011]
Works on This Recording
La tragédie de Salomé, Op. 50 by Florent Schmitt
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1907/1910; France
Symphony in D minor, M 48 by César Franck
Written: 1886-1888; France
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