Dukas: Symphony in C major; La péri (Fanfare & Poème dansé); L'apprenti sorcier (The Sorcerer's Apprentice)

Reviewed on Wed 21 Jan, 2015

As soon as Dukas’s hapless apprentice takes his first tentative steps, just half awake before setting out in dizzy confusion, you sense you’re in the company of an orchestra and conductor who know precisely what they’re about. Here we have a performance of real character, well played and judiciously paced. La péri opens to a proudly heraldic Fanfare – great RTÉ brass here – while the ‘Poème dansé’ itself is both texturally sensual and interpretatively imaginative. The Symphony in C dates from the turn of the last century and nurtures memorable themes aplenty, the first movement’s second subject being case in point, whereas the dramatic finale shows the unmistakable influence of César Franck. The longest and loveliest movement sits at the Symphony’s centre, a ‘sustained and expressive’ Andante, the opening of which begs the question why this quite beautiful work isn’t heard more frequently. Again, Jean-Luc Tingaud and his RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra offer a most persuasive performance, and the recording is all you’d want it to be.
–Rob Cowan