Chandos CHAN 10760
D’Indy: Orchestral Works, Vol. 5 – Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Rumon Gamba
This is the latest volume in the Chandos series exploring the orchestral output of Vincent d’Indy, nicknamed ‘The Samson of Music’ by Fauré for his work as a composer, conductor, and teacher. His style was essentially eclectic, strongly influenced by Beethoven and Wagner, into which he frequently incorporated folk melodies.
Based on a folk tune from the Tourtous, the Symphonie sur un Chant montagnard français has become one of the composer’s best-loved works. The highly atmospheric work is scored for piano and orchestra; however, far from engaging in conflict with the orchestra, the soloist operates on equal terms. The part is here performed by the internationally acclaimed Louis Lortie.
The symphonic poem Saugefleurie tells the story of the tragic love between Saugefleurie, a lonely yet charming little fairy, and the King’s son, based on a poem from the Contes de fées by Robert de Bonnières, a friend of the composer’s. The Wagnerian influence is apparent throughout; however, in terms of orchestration and sonority the work remains characteristically French.
Among the now forgotten works of the French poet, novelist, and dramatist Catulle Mendès is the play Medée, based on the Greek myth of Medea, who murdered her two sons to avenge her rejection by her lover, Jason, the leader of the Argonauts. D’Indy wrote incidental music to the play in 1898, and later preserved much of it in the form of an orchestral suite in five movements, recorded here.
Also on the theme of doomed love is d’Indy’s first opera, Fervaal, a work of Wagnerian scale and proportions, and clearly displaying the influence of Parsifal in the complex network of leitmotivs. At the same time, in its historical setting at the time of the Saracen invasion, and in its musical evocation of local colour, it reflects the earlier Parisian Grand Opéra of Meyerbeer and Halévy.