Rumon Gamba and the Iceland Symphony Orchestra follow their Grammy-nominated volume 1 and Editor's Choice winning Volume 2 with four rare orchestral works from Vincent D'Indy's legacy. The previous volumes have obtained such comments as '...superbly realised by the excellent Iceland Symphony Orchestra under Rumon Gamba and the state-of-the-art Chandos recording; definitely a key record of d'Indy's orchestra output' (Gramophone) and 'this series is going to be virtually definitive' Musical Opinion
BBC Music Magazine Rumon Gamba...draws deeply sympathetic playing from his orchestra, leaving us to wish that d'Indy had always composed thus.
The Observer The Iceland SO and Rumon Gamba's excellent advocacy reminds us that [d'Indy] was a sensual orchestral colourist, at once French and Teutonic in style...Bizarrely addictive.
When I first popped this disc into my car, before the first track even started playing, I thought, "Who IS this guy? What's up with this 'new' music?"
To my surprise, this 'new' music was incredibly lush, cinematic, and passionate. Also to my surprise, there was nothing 'new' about French composer Vincent d'Indy who lived from 1851-1931.
The disc opens with Istar and its lush, atmospheric opening with prominent horns and woodwinds. This is followed by a melodic interplay between solo strings (violin) and solo woodwinds (oboe/flute). Then enters a happy jaunt which is quickly interrupted by a march followed by swirling romantic themes (reminiscent of of Bernard Hermann at his romantic best) coming to a grand conclusion.
D'Indy's Chorale Varie for saxophone is beautiful, moody, and solemn with a tonal texture similar to Dvorak's New World Symphony composed 10 years earlier. The saxophone proves to be a worthy symphonic instrument too often overlooked.
Symphony #3 is a little of a mixed bag, however. The 1st movement is indicated as "Lent et Calme," but it more closely resembles a march with mildly calm moments. The 2nd carries on in a brisk, playful mood. In contrast, the 3rd opens with moody solo lines from the woodwinds (flute, oboe, clarinet) which continue throughout. The sometime gallant / sometime lumbering 4th movement is announced by the horns followed by the bass drum and timpani. D'Indy's sparse orchestration is what makes it lumber for me as the least interesting of the four movements, which makes for an unsatisfying close to an otherwise worthwhile piece.
The disc closes with Diptyque Mediterraneen, featuring a sunrise (part one) and sunset (part two). Part One of this lush, exceedingly beautiful tone poem opens quietly with shimmering strings accented with brief lines from the winds, slowly to the early morning sun - thus its title of "Soleil Matinale." On a personal note, I'm a sucker for sunrise music - I love when the music "emerges" in soft, shimmering pieces, gradually increasing in radiance until the full splendor of life surrounds you. Sunset music, however, is totally new for me and it is what D'Indy tackles as the subject of Part Two, "Soleil Vesperal." He does an admirable job of reversing the sun's movement, ushering in the darkness at the very close of the piece.
Submitted on 07/16/10 by DanL