Notes & Reviews:
François-Xavier Roth leads his period-instrument orchestra Les Siècles in an album of music by Franz Liszt featuring two of the composer's symphonic poems. Inspired by the Divine Comedy, Liszt's Dante Symphony depicts Dante's journey from hell to paradise. The work is especially innovative, featuring numerous orchestral and harmonic advances including progressive tonality, anticipating its use in the symphonies of Gustav Mahler by forty years. Orpheus is one of four symphonic poems Liszt composed as character sketches of men of creative genius, heroism or legend. Worthy of note is the work's rich instrumentation, which includes two harps used to represent Orpheus's lyre.
American Record Guide, May/June 2013
The winds are on their game, and even with some patches of wiry string tone you can hear in every phrase, every breath how much Roth loves this music. He shapes it every bit as affectionately as Beecham. I plan to listen to it again. Sonics are every bit as spacious, open, and natural as the Dubois. Moreover, besides the Organ Symphony praised by Mr Hansen (4), Actes Sud also has in its catalog a pungent Firebird (6) and a striking Symphonie Fantastique (2). I recommend these to you as further examples of what wonders are possible with instruments of the composer's time.