Fauré: Orchestral Works / Tortelier, BBC Philharmonic

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Faure wrote surprisingly few orchestral works, and it was a good idea on the part of Chandos to assemble this selection. However, although the transcription of the celebrated cello Elegie is the composer’s own, the Dolly suite, originally for piano duet, comes here in Henri Rabaud’s arrangement and the flute Fantaisie is the transcription made by Louis Aubert for Jean-Pierre Rampal. The biggest concertante work here, the Ballade of 1881, is Faure’s orchestration of his piano piece of the same name; it is gentle music that persuades and cajoles in a very Gallic way. Though not an overtly virtuoso utterance, it makes its own exacting technical demands on the soloist, among them being complete control of touch and pedalling. The deservedly established Faurean Kathryn Stott meets these with consistent success, and, predictably, she receives idiomatic support from Yan Pascal Tortelier and the BBC Philharmonic.

Masques et bergamasques, which takes its title from Verlaine’s sad, mysterious poem Clair de lune, is a late stage work that the composer himself described as melancholy and nostalgic, but it is hardly romantic, being instead pointedly neo-classical in character and shape, recalling Bizet’s youthful C major Symphony and Grieg’s Holberg Suite. Here, too, we find Faure the transcriber, for all but one of the pieces in this orchestral suite of four are revisions of much earlier piano pieces. The playing here under Tortelier is very satisfying, as are the elegant flute solos of the exquisitely delicate Pavane, here performed without the optional chorus, and in Dolly. The rarely heard Overture to the opera Penelope is also effectively presented here – as is everything in this generous programme. There’s little rhetoric and no bombast in Faure’s art, but how civilized he was, and what sympathetic interpreters serve him here! Chandos’s warm yet delicate recording suits the music well.

-- Christopher Headington, Gramophone [5/1996]

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: CHAN 9416

  • UPC: 095115941621

  • Label: Chandos

  • Composer: Gabriel Fauré

  • Conductor: Yan Pascal Tortelier

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: BBC Philharmonic Orchestra

  • Performer: Kathryn Stott, Peter Dixon, Richard Davis