Review by: David Hurwitz
Artistic Quality: 9
Sound Quality: 9
Between JoAnn Falletta and Jean-Luc Tingaud, Naxos seems to be cornering the market when it comes to unusual but worthy repertoire. Tingaud’s specialty, unsurprisingly, has (thus far) focused on French music, and this Massenet collection includes some pretty nifty and rare titles. Visions, for example, is a symphonic poem in Lisztian style dating from 1891, and it’s an imposing and impressive fourteen-minute hunk of good, romantic music. Brumaire is a powerful, militant overture that belies the composer’s reputation as little more than a soft orchestral voluptuary.
The Espada Suite is another in the seemingly endless series of French works with a Spanish flavor, and it’s none the worse for that. Best of all, perhaps, is the incidental music to Érinnyes (The Furies). Dating from 1876, this substantial half hour of music features an extended “Scène religieuse” and a three-movement divertissement full of memorable and vigorous ideas. The program concludes with the darkly dramatic overture Phèdre–like all of the music here very well played and conducted with real conviction. The sonics, too, do the music proud. I love this stuff, and I suspect that you will too.
Reference Recording: None