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Cesar FRANCK (1822-1890)
Symphony in D Minor (1888) [40:03]
Psyché (1888) (Sommeil de Psyché [10:21]; Psyché Enlevée Par Les Zéphyrs [3:00]; Les Jardins d’Éros [4:15]; Psyché et Éros [8:35]) [26:11]
Orchestre de Paris/Daniel Barenboim
rec. 1976, Salle Wagram, Paris. ADD

Experience Classicsonline

Barenboim’s 35 year old analogue recordings emerge sturdily well on this disc.

The Henri Duparc-dedicated Symphony enjoys a heavyweight reading with plenty of bark and bite. It sports a massive stomping Brahmsian power and a steady and sometimes ponderously swung pulse. This also carries over into the romantically pensive second movement. Tempest and smiling tenderness work their steady and sometimes spirited spell over the finale. There’s a deliberation about this reading that will have you hearing the symphony in a new and welcome light.

As for Psyché this is a work I found and still find revelatory. It presented Franck in a far more sensuous light than you may have expected from the Symphony and the Symphonic Variations. It’s a work I discovered in its full choral-orchestral version on a luxurious Voix de son Maitre gatefold LP (2C 069-12858) issued in 1975. I am delighted to see it only just reissued as part of the Orchestre de Liège’s irresistibly-priced 50 CD celebratory box. Its romantic-impressionist way is not to be missed – so if EMI’s L’Esprit Français CD (CDM 5 65162 2) issue evaded you in 1994 you can get it now as well as much more from Cyprès on CYP7650 for 50 euros – though now seemingly out of stock. As for Barenboim’s reading it is sumptuous, starry-eyed, voluptuous, grand and a shade sleepy rather than priapically urgent. That said it is not lacking in Ariel balletic flightiness – for example, in the Psyché Enlevée Par Les Zéphyrs episode.

The Symphony first appeared on a DGG LP 2530 707 and the Psyché on DGG LP 2543 821 with two tone poems. Barenboim’s way with the Franck tone poems can also be experienced with the same orchestra on Eloquence.

Good notes by Malcolm Macdonald.

Barenboim doggedly lays bare the romantically charged substance of Franck’s two works. Plenty of bark and bite.

Rob Barnett

































































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