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ClassicsOnline Home » SCHMITT, F.: Tragedie de Salome (La) / FRANCK, C.: Symphony in D minor (Metropolitan Orchestra, Nezet-Seguin)
Franck symphony, Schmitt Salome, Orchestre Metropolitain, Yannick Nezet-Seguin
Some conductors rise slowly to fame; some, like the young French-Canadian Yannick Nezet-Seguin, ascend like rockets. Beginning with his conductorship of Montreal's Orchestre Metropolitain in 2000, he rose quickly to international fame, and will take up his position in September, 2012 as conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Listening to this new CD from ATMA, it's not hard to see why he has risen to stardom. Under his direction, the Orchestre Metropolitain performs splendidly, and the recording is crystal clear. Both works on this CD are by composers of the late-Romantic period, but the coupling is unusual. Despite his German-sounding name Florent Schmitt (who should not be confused with the Austrian composer Joseph Schmidt) was French. Today, his music is rarely heard, but during the first four decades of the 20th century he was one of the most often performed among French composers.
His "The Tragedy of Salome" of 1907 was initially a 60-minute ballet composed for 20 musicians. The 1910 version, re-scored for large orchestra and shortened to a 30-minute suite, is slightly better-known. Since neither version is much heard or recorded, this new CD is welcome, although it omits the role for chorus. Other versions are available: the full-length one includes a soprano but no chorus; out of the three recordings of the suite, two include chorus, one does not.
In contrast, the other work on the CD is César Franck's often-performed and much-recorded Symphony in D minor. Personally, I'm disappointed that ATMA didn't choose a less frequently recorded work; my first reaction was "Oh no, not another version of the Franck!" By the end of the performance, however, I was convinced that Nezet-Seguin's performance is among the best currently available.
To sum up, great performances, superb recording, and excellent program notes. Should you buy this CD? If you have neither work, then I recommend it unless you prefer a choral version of the Schmitt. If you already have the Franck but not the Schmitt, only you can decide.
- Ted Wilksmore....
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SCHMITT, F.: Tragedie de Salome (La) / FRANCK, C.:...