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Cat. No. CHAN 9875 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 9875 - Franck: Orchestral Works
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Audio Sample

Available From: 15 January 2001
Franck’s often introspective and distinctly personal style of composition was based on a love of the German masters – notably Beethoven and Wagner – and a belief in music as idea, not just entertainment. At his best Franck holds the two elements in perfect balance. Franck completed the orchestral tone poem Les Eolides in 1876. It evokes the mythological daughters of Aeolus, the god of the winds, who reawaken nature with their song. Nearly a decade later Franck conducted the triumphant premiere of his Symphonic Variations. This ‘little something’, as Franck called it, is a work where the traditional bravura tug-of-war between soloist and orchestra is transmuted into the most eloquent dialogue. Not that the work is short of drama: it abounds in the most wonderful lyricism, culminating in the ethereal sixth variation with the piano’s shimmering filigree of semiquavers. From the beginning Franck’s Symphony was not a success. It was first heard on 17 February 1889, conducted by Jules Garcin. At the heart of the symphony was a technique that Franck had made his own: cyclic form. This is a method of constructing a work by process of musical evolution, with initial cells, or motifs, being developed and transformed to recur in new guises throughout. The sense of unity and musical discourse this gave to the music was intensely satisfying to an inquiring mind like Franck’s, but his critics were unimpressed by what they saw as a lack of traditional form, to which they added charges of tortuous chromatic harmony, lack of orchestral colour and a disconcerting use of the cor anglais. Defects or not, it stands almost alone for its time in France and had an enormous influence on the next generations of French composers. It is undeniably a powerful vehicle of symphonic thought, sweeping the listener along in a wordless musical drama from the very first bars.

‘Lortie is an unfailingly thoughtful and thought-provoking artist of compelling utterance, who always has something new to say and whose expressive eloquence is always at the service of the composer.’
Classic FM on CHAN 9793 (To a Distant Beloved)

‘…it is hard to imagine how Tortelier’s devoted and intuitive conducting could be bettered.’
BBC Music Magazine on CHAN 9745 (Boulanger)

‘While Tortelier is at work – and long may he prosper! – let it not be said that we have only baton technicians and no great interpreters. He has sounded Franck’s depth and struck a compelling resonance that may well set the standard for decades to come.’

‘Chandos catches the bright sound colours and keeps resonance under control. Main items become clear choices in the absence of idiomatic alternatives’.
BBC Music Magazine

‘Again Tortelier reinforces his outstanding claims as an interpreter of the French Romantic repertory’.

‘Louis Lortie plays all these works with immaculate brio… Volume 2 of Liszt’s original works for piano and orchestra is eagerly awaited.’
Gramophone on CHAN 9801 (Liszt)


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