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Bacchus and Ariadne (Complete)

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Performer: Deneve Royal Scottish National Orchestra
  • Composer: Roussel Albert
  • Audio CD (May 29 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ncl
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #105,150 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Roussel' two most successful works, the ballet Bacchus et Ariane and Symphony No. 3 demonstrate his mature, neo-classical idiom. The Third Symphony, one of a number of workscommissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra for its fiftieth anniversary season,

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This and the Naxos issue of symphony 2 have restored my faith in Roussel. I owned the Munch versions of 3 and 4 on vinyl and Martinon's 2 on tape, all excellent performances. Then I bought Dutoit on cd and couldn't understand what I ever saw in the composer. Now I realize it was Dutoit's run-through performances that put me off. This Naxos disc is from a different planet. The RSNO play like demons and Deneve finds substance in these works I never realized was there. The slow movement of symphony 3 is a revelation. The cd of symphony 2 is equally fine and that work is one of the most underrated 20th century symphonies. I will be buying all the Naxos Roussel cds as soon as they are issued.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xb1dc1cb4) out of 5 stars 5 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xb1f1d714) out of 5 stars Greatness Neglected! June 30 2007
By Robin Dalziell - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It is unconscionable that the symphonic works of the French composers Alberic Magnard and Albert Roussel have been so neglected on disc and in the concert hall!
This performance on the super budget Naxos label may, hopefully, bring to a wider audience the wonders of Roussel's music. And, let me say right away, vies with the best in sound and exceeds all in interpretation!
The only performances that come close to the third symphony on this disc are Berstein's and Cluytens'.
Roussel's 3rd can be described as neo-classical with a 'French flavour' and is eminently approachable. The slow music hints at the 'nature' music so well known in Debussy and and the fast outer movements have a rhythm and energy that Stravinsky would have been proud of. Both the vigour and harmony throughout this work is compelling! That Martinu was one of his students is obvious.
The rest of the programme is taken up by the most sensitive and inspiring account of Roussel's most well known work - Bacchus et Ariane - even when compared with the excellent version by Tortelier on Chandos.
Deneve's accounts of both works cries out to heard by anyone interested in great music, particularly of the first half of the twentieth century!
I can hardly wait for the other three symphonies!
Do yourself a big favour and have a listen. Rewards are waiting in abundance!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xb1f1d960) out of 5 stars Joy for Rousselians! Aug. 31 2007
By Michael Martin De Sapio - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The mature music of Albert Roussel (1869-1937) represents a high water mark of early 20th-century French neoclassicsm. Roussel's symphonies are crystaline compositions of great integrity combining clarity, grace and logic in a synthesis of counterpoint, impressionistic colorism, and potent rhythms and dissonance. Until very recently, listeners wanting newer recordings of these works had few truly good options to choose from: a version of the Third and Fourth on Chandos with Neeme Jaervi is deeply inadequate, while the complete symphonies with Charles Dutoit does not appear to have garnered a lot of favor. But just in time for the seventieth anniversary of Roussel's death, a group of recent recordings has given Roussel-lovers cause to rejoice: Christoph Eschenbach and the Orchestre de Paris have given us recordings of the First, Second, and Fourth, and now we have this terrific new version of the Third on Naxos.

This recording has received several enthusiastic reviews, including one in Gramophone magazine. In Stephane Deneve the Royal Scottish Orchestra has a leader that obviously understands the French idiom, and leads a performance of the Third Symphony that is attentive to all the expressive requirements of the work. The pounding opening is attacked with vigor, the rhythms are sharply etched, and the dissonant outbursts that interrupt at various points in that movement are delightfully shocking. Yet Deneve gives plenty of expressive shaping (including great flexibility of tempo) and reveals oases of calm in the midst of turmoil and relentless motion. The Third has at its center a superbly conceived slow movement, a serene panorama constructed in a perfect arc. Deneve takes this music with seriousness and dignity, throwing into relief the cafe music that interrupts at the middle of the movement, and setting up an especially patient build-up to an incandescent climax. I must make mention of the concertmaster's beautiful solo contrubutions in the second and fourth movements: his mellow tone, restrained vibrato, and well-judged portamento are a throwback to the early 20th century. The ballet BACCHUS AND ARIADNE was composed around the same time as the symphony; avoiding any stereotypical "ancient" evocations (as, for example, Stravinsky's "classical Greek" ballets), it instead clothes the Greek myth in acrid harmonies and motor rhythms. A few very brief patches of ragged ensemble do not in any way detract from my hearty recommendation of this disc.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xb1f1d924) out of 5 stars Two of Roussel's Best Efforts in New Recordings July 13 2007
By J Scott Morrison - Published on
Format: Audio CD
After many years of neglect by the record companies, Albert Roussel's orchestral music seems to be coming into its own. There are currently excellent low-price recordings of the Third Symphony -- his most popular; the one commissioned in 1930 for the 50th anniversary of the Boston Symphony, along with Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms -- by such artists as Cluytens/Colonne onEMI, Dutoit/Orchestre National de France on Apex/Warner, and Järvi/Detroit on Chandos Classics. His 'Bacchus et Ariane' ballet is slightly less well-represented, especially the complete score (arranged by Roussel into two suites that are simply Acts I & II), but there are competing versions by Järvi/Detroit and Yan Pascal Tortelier/BBC Philharmonic. What's more, most of these competing versions are also offered at budget price. So what's a person to do?

Well, as much as I like this new version by Stéphane Denève and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, I must cast my vote for the EMI which only costs a couple of dollars more for 2 CDs containing the Symphonies Nos. 2, 3 and 4, as well as one of the Bacchus Suites, the Festin de l'Araignée, and the Sinfonietta. Granted, they are older recordings but they have been very nicely remastered and sound terrific. Further, the French orchestras led by Cluytens, Prêtre and Dervaux play gorgeously throughout. I imagine that Denève and RSNO (of which he has been the music director for a couple of years now) will record more of Roussel's orchestral output but the cash outlay will be significantly more for the amount of music presented. And as far as that's concerned, I thought the sound on this new recording was just a little cloudy and with the brass sometimes drowning the strings.

Scott Morrison
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xb1f1de1c) out of 5 stars The Pleasure of His Company March 7 2008
By Grady Harp - Published on
Format: Audio CD
How often are we given the opportunity to revel in Roussel? Too infrequently, we are reminded, until a concert of well known French music played with élan happens to feature a work such as Albert Roussel's Symphony No. 3 nested among the well known favorites such as Ravel's 'Le Tombeau de Couperin' and 'La Valse' and Poulenc's 'Concerto for 2 Pianos'. Such was the case at a recent Los Angeles Philharmonic concert, one that the conductor of this excellent recording was scheduled to conduct but defaulted to the orchestra's superb assistant conductor Daniel Bringuier. Hearing the Roussel live is as refreshing as discovering something new, and yet here is a recording to savor that is as fine as any of this work available.

Stéphane Denève knows his way around and through this brief (25 minute) symphony and is able to capitalize on all the creative aspects of the work while knitting it together in a way that eludes many conductors. The symphony is rich with melodies painted on a backdrop of some of the more original and unique percussive writing in the literature. While the spirit of the work is exhilarating, listening repeatedly to the way Denève keeps the textures clear reminds us of just how fine (and how very French!) is this 20th century masterpiece. This is a symphony AND a performance to cherish.

Denève also manages to make the better known ballet score 'Bacchus et Ariane' sound both grand and eloquent. And while his Royal Scottish National Orchestra may not be the richest sounding ensemble, it is very responsive to Denève dissection of the score. In all this is a recording very much deserving to be a part of every music lover's library - especially those who have neglected the always surprising pleasures of the music of Albert Roussel! Grady Harp, March 08
HASH(0xb1f3312c) out of 5 stars Absolutely first-rate Oct. 1 2014
By G.D. - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a spectacular disc in a spectacular series, yet again demonstrating that the Naxos Roussel cycle with Stéphane Denève and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra is surely the one to have. Indeed, Denève comes across as more or less the ideal interpreter of Roussel’s music, bringing out all the color and magic and vigor to be found. The two works on the present disc – written at roughly the same time – remain among the composer’s most popular, and in performances like these the disc is easily one of the best introductions to the composer’s enthralling sound world.

Though often described as “neo-classical” the soundworld of Roussel’s third symphony has little in common with, say, the dry neo-classicism of Stravinsky. The forms, and perhaps the shape and flow of the thematic material, are classical, but embedded in ferocious energy, exploding colors and a forward momentum that sometimes borders on the aggressive. In particular, the first movement is as energetic as any, whereas the second is passionate and profound – for a while, before it turns into light, wistful-tinged, very French, delightful reverie, though not without (after a while) some hints of darkness and a climax that is, at least in this performance, powerful as few. The scherzo is light and cheeky and delightful and the finale a deeply satisfying conclusion to a great work.

The ballet Bacchus et Ariane consists of two marvelously imaginative, colorful and inventive suites, with barely a second that is less than captivating. Many of the dances are relatively light-hearted and jaunty, but there is such emotional nuance, depth and variety (and, admittedly, an almost demonic undertone) that it doesn’t strike one as a particularly light work. In fact, the overall moods of the two suites are rather different – the first is light-filled, playful and wistful, while the second is almost daringly sensual, shimmering, glowing and wonderful.

As mentioned the performances are magnificent, whether the music is playful, sensual or brutal, and it is worth mentioning that RSNO features some superb soloists, especially in the symphony. The ballet is particularly notable for its sparkle, momentum and fiendish energy, which never threatens to jeopardize the textural clarity or precision of the performances. The recorded sound is first-rate as well, vivid, big and clear, with plenty of depth. In short, this is an absolute must, once again proving that the Naxos Roussel cycle will be at least on the level of, say, their celebrated cycle of Bax symphonies.