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The three works included here outline the transitional phase in which Roussel’s mature idiom took shape. Most important of these is his Second Symphony, with its densely intricate orchestration and its wide range of expression, while Pour une fête de printemps is a symphonic poem that could be thought of as preparation for the larger work.
With the Suite in F, Roussel arrived at his mature style; the piece is taut and economical in design, with a distinctly ‘contemporary’ feel.
Albert Roussel: Symphony No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 23
III. Tres lent
Albert Roussel: Pour une fete de printemps, Op. 22
Pour une fete de printemps, Op. 22
Albert Roussel: Suite in F major, Op. 33
“energy, enthusiasm, and panache”
“Denève and the RSNO are strong advocates for the all-too-rarely heard Second Symphony.”
“Denève's pacing feels perfectly natural… The Royal Scottish National Orchestra play with élan throughout, relishing the music.”
“The most recent digital set on Naxos is, on balance, perhaps the best [Roussel cycle], and is certainly well on its way to being the most comprehensive...Unlike the majority of performances in this cycle, the Second Symphony is taken at quite a slow pace, but not unsympathetically slow. All the brooding colours of this densely impressionistic score are brought out, allowing the listener to wallow in much gorgeous orchestration.”
3rd May 2008
“Stéphane Denève and his orchestra bring plenty of verve and nuance to their interpretation [of Roussel's Second Symphony], and with the equally well-played couplings - a festive symphonic poem and a more Classically shaped suite - the disc adds up to a highly recommendable window on to the world of a fascinating composer”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.