One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,514 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                     Editor in Chief: John Quinn              

Some items
to consider


paid for


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

Deaconoff; Stockhausen

Live at the Clifton Festival

Choir at Clifton Cathedral


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger



Louis THIRION (1879-1966)
Symphony No. 2 in B minor (1913-19) [37:31]
Jacques THIÉRAC (1896-1972)
Symphonie normande (1947) [31:24]
Orchestre Radio-Symphonique de la Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française (Thirion), Orchestre Philharmonique de la Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française (Thiérac)/Eugène Bigot
rec. live, 22 October 1959 (Thirion), 13 May 1962 (Thiérac)

It is always refreshing to make a new discovery, and Forgotten Records have certainly hit the jackpot with this one. Of the two symphonies, one was written during the course of the First World War, and the second was penned just after the Second World War hostilities ceased. Neither work, as far as I am aware, has had the luxury of a studio recording, but we are fortunate enough to have radio broadcasts of both, made in France and conducted by Eugène Bigot. Louis Thirion, I am pleased to say, I have encountered once before. I reviewed a disc of his chamber music in 2016. It impressed me so much I made it a Recording of the Month. I have never heard of Jacques Thiérac. Forgotten Records rarely provides annotations with their historical releases, but this time there are welcome biographies of the two, albeit written in French.

Louis Thirion was born in 1879 in Baccarat, east of Paris. He went on to study music at the Nancy Conservatory, where Guy Ropartz taught him composition. Ropartz appointed him Professor of Organ and Piano in 1898. When war broke out, he embarked on a period of military service. Then in 1920 his wife died and he was left to raise two young children single-handed. From then on he made the conscious decision to give up composing and devote the rest of his life to teaching. He remained at the Conservatory in Nancy until 1949, and died in the city in 1966.

He composed two symphonies. The first, from 1909, was premiered by Gabriel Pierné at the Concerts Colonne two years later. The second symphony, begun in 1913, had a more prolonged genesis. The orchestration was not completed until 1919, the delay most probably due to the intervention of war. It, too, received a premiere by Pierné and the Colonne Orchestra. Cast in four movements, the work shuns avant-garde developments and resides firmly in late Romantic pastures. The opening movement sounds, in parts, very Franckian, with one motif cropping up strongly reminiscent of something in César Franck’s Symphony in D minor. A lively scherzo-like movement follows, light on its feet, flighty and irresolute. Glowing, luminous embers invest the introspective slow movement with calm and tranquillity. I think it is the finest movement of the four, and could certainly stand alone. Swirling strings and brass interjections reveal a more than competently orchestrated finale, which calls time with all guns blazing.

Jacques Thiérac was born in Paris on 9 March 1896. Marc Delmas spotted his early talent, and he began music studies with Paul Vidal. He started to compose. In 1916 he wrote Plainte funèbre for a comrade killed in battle. His career was temporarily halted during World War 1, and after hostilities he returned to Paris. He later took some lessons in orchestration from Charles Koechlin. He was a great friend of Arthur Honegger. In 1937 he received the Légion d'Honneur. Between 1947 and 1969, his work was performed by such conductors as Roger Désormière, Gaston Poulet, Pierre Dervaux, Désiré-Émile Inghelbrecht, Manuel Rosenthal, Paul Paray and Eugène Bigot as in this performance. He died in Paris in 1972.

Although a Parisian by birth, Thiérac inherited a love of Normandy from his mother. He composed his Symphonie normande in 1947. The title of the first of three movements translates as “Orchards in Spring”. Woodwind imitate birdsong in this evocative pastoral canvas, the sun shines, and the weighted trees sway in the breeze. The second movement is titled “Hollow Path near the Chapel”. The music takes on a more meditative tone, with richer, burnished autumnal hues realized in the orchestration. The third panel celebrates “The Joy of Sunny Harvests”. Everything is optimistic and celebratory as nature’s bounty is reaped.

As with most radio broadcasts of this vintage, a certain pallor envelopes the sound, with some loss of detail on occasion. Nevertheless, I am pleased to make acquaintance with these two orchestral works. Their added value is the fact that, unless some enterprising and visionary label comes along and makes new recordings, they are doomed to remain lost, except to those with a taste for recherché repertoire.

Stephen Greenbank

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat



Recordings of the Month


Conner Riddle Songs

Rodzinski Sibelius

Of Innocence and Experience


Symphonies 1, 2, 3



Aho Symphony 5

Dowland - A Fancy


Rachmaninov_ Babayan