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
Composed in 1916-18 at the climax of the Great War, d’Indy’s last symphony is a valid reflection of his intense patriotism. In its dramatic theatric and tonal conflicts it well portrays the heightened emotions of exaltation and terror experienced by the French nation. D’Indy’s seven-variation programmatic work, Istar, Op.42 is a beautiful, flowing work set in the underworld and inspired by the sixth canto of an ancient Assyrian epic poem called Izdubar that was probably written around 2000 B.C.
The unconventionally conceived yet well integrated work Choral Varie for Saxophone Solo ans orchestra, Op.55 employs an eclectic variety of styles. Like certain other French composers such as Bizet, D’Indy well understood the saxophone’s expressive potential. The solo role is taken by one of Iceland’s most prominent musicians, Sigurður Flosason, who has twice been nominated for the Nordic Music Prize, and four time winner of the Icelandic Music Awards.
Volume 3 is completed by D’Indy’s last orchestral work, Diptyque Mediterraneen, Op.87. It reflects the Indian summer which his happy second marriage brought him in his final decade. There is a certain similarity with the earlier Ardeche-inspired Jour d’ete a la montagne in its illustration of the sacred rhythms of nature during the course of the day, but here the influence of Debussy is clearly apparent in its superb Mediterranean-like clarity of texture.