Friday, December 05, 2008

What I am Listening to Today

d'Indy Orchestral Works Volume 1
Ramon Gumba, Iceland SO Chandos 10464

Vincent d'Indy is best known for his once quite popular Symphony on a French Mountain Air, and frankly, that was about it. This Chandos release offers some quite fine and atmospheric works that have rarely been heard or recorded.

I was most impressed by the impressionistic Jour d'été à la montagne (Summer Day on the mountain) for orchestra from 1905. Here d'Indy leaves the sound world of Franck and Chausson and enters the mist shrouded world of Debussy. A French Alpine Symphonie, but certainly less fraught with drama and chilled by cold winds than Richard Strauss' mountains.

La foret enchantée (The Enchanted Forest) is an earlier work from1878 and thus is deep in the Franckian language. Colorful but hardly exotic, this is fine music but not the revelation of the Jour d'été. The final work, Souvenirs, like Jour d'été written in 1905, is a charming and nostalgic four movement suite penned as a memorial to his wife.

Rumon Gamba and the Iceland Symphony make fine partners and clearly have a grasp of d'Indy's style. This is an excellent recording of some little known works from a composer who has slipped through the cracks in the last decades. Is it time for a d'Indy revival?

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