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Vincent d’INDY (1851 – 1931)
Orchestral Works - Volume 6
Wallenstein Op. 12 [36:31]
Prelude to Act III of Fervaal Op. 40 [7:13]
Lied for Cello and Orchestra Op. 19 [8:39]
Suite dans le style ancien in D major Op. 24 [16:19]
Sérénade et Valse, Op. 28 [5:10]
Bryndís Halla Gylfadóttir (cello)
Iceland Symphony Orchestra/Rumon Gamba
rec. Eldborg, Harpa, Reykjavik, Iceland, 2014
CHANDOS CHSA5157 SACD [74:32]

This is the latest volume in Rumon Gamba’s series of the complete D’Indy orchestral music. It has been a worthy effort to document both well-known and more obscure works by a composer who even today is not as prominent as he deserves to be. On this disc we have works dating mostly from the 1880s - an important period for the composer.

Perhaps the best-known work on this disc is the Lied for Cello and Orchestra. The use of the term “lied” by an ardent French patriot who fought in the Franco-Prussian War may seem strange but D’Indy was also an admirer of German culture and one of the “Wagneriste” group in Paris. The Lied itself has a dreamy first theme followed by a more vigorous second, both of which are developed with great skill, leading to an impressive finale, somewhat reminiscent of the music of the composer’s friend Chausson.

In the next year (1885) D’Indy orchestrated two early piano pieces to form the Sérénade et Valse. These are both gentle, lighter, works. The first is written in D’Indy’s pastoral style, an aspect of his output that deserves more attention, and is both amusing and tender. The Valse is just as gentle, not at all like the vigorous works in the same form from Fauré or Ravel, although this one picks up some energy at the end.

D”Indy’s Suite dans le style ancien demonstrates yet another aspect of the composer’s personality - his interest in older musical styles and in reviving almost forgotten works of previous centuries. The work is in five dance-like movements, scored for trumpet, two flutes and strings - originally a string quartet. In the Prélude the composer creates some interesting combinations for flutes and strings before the entry of the trumpet. The Entrée continues the mood of the Prélude but quickly becomes more serious. These movements are balanced by the central Sarabande which is very moving and includes some interesting writing for the strings. The Menuet is stately but rather dry. The final Ronde Française is actually a double fugue but treated lightly and in the composer’s pastoral style. It's a good demonstration of some of the varied aspects of the composer’s musical personality.

Fervaal (1889-1895) is the composer’s primary opera, somewhat inspired by Parsifal. It takes place mostly in D’Indy’s native Cevennes and concerns the unsuccessful struggle of the native pagan Celts against the encroaching Saracens. At the end Fervaal hears the Pange lingua - a vision of the new religion that will replace paganism. The third act Prelude, heard after the disastrous defeat of the Celts, is very forceful and dramatic, far different from the almost sleepy first act Prelude.

The symphonic trilogy Wallenstein was one of D’Indy’s early successes and has been one of his more recorded works (link). It is based on the tragedy by Schiller. The first section is the most immediately impressive as well as being the most evocative of D’Indy’s teacher César Franck. It portrays Wallenstein and his victorious army before the captured city of Magdeburg. The development of the Wallenstein theme in the end of this section is very skilful. The second section (The Piccolominis) describes the plot against Wallenstein led by Octavio Piccolomini and the star-crossed romance of Piccolomini’s son Max and Wallenstein's daughter Thekla. The theme for Max is truly noble but even more impressive is the beautiful theme for Thekla. These are combined with a “fate” motif as the music gradually becomes more tragic until the end of the movement and the death of Max. Wallenstein’s own death - in the last section - shows D’Indy combining Wallenstein’s theme with the fate motif, leading to a grandiose finale.

The playing of the Iceland Symphony on this disc is very competent but it is the woodwinds that stand out. They are called upon to create a wide variety of moods in these works and are up to the task in each one. The brass, especially the trumpets, is also quite fine. This is the first disc in the D’Indy series to be recorded in SACD and the sound is sumptuous, especially in the Fervaal Prelude and the Suite Ancien. Gamba’s conducting in this series has been somewhat variable (link; see also Vol. 5), but on this disc he is full sympathy with the music and obtains mostly excellent results. Those collecting the entire series of D’Indy orchestral music will find this one of the better discs. Those who are looking into D’Indy’s music for the first time will find these works a good introduction to his varied output.

William Kreindler

Previous review: David Barker

Earlier MWI reviews of this Chandos series
Volume 1
Volume 2
Volume 3
Volume 4
Volume 5

Detailed Contents
Orchestral Works - Volume 6
Wallenstein Op. 12 [36:31]
1-2) Wallensteins’ Camp [9:41]
3-6) Max and Thécla (The Piccolominis) [12:11]
7-10) The Death of Wallenstein [14:26]
11) Prelude to Act III of ‘Fervaal’ Op. 40 [7:13]
12) Lied for Cello and Orchestra Op. 19* [8:39]
Suite dans le style ancien in D major Op. 24 [16:19]
13) I Prélude [1:36]
14) II Entrée [3:02]
15 III Sarabande [4:11]
16 IV Menuet [3:56]
17 V Ronde française [3:24]
Sérénade et Valse, Op. 28 [5:10]
18) Sérénade [2:22]
19) Valse [2:47]

 

 




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