Bizet: Roma – Symphony; Jeux d'enfants, Op 22 (Petite suite & Les quatre coins); Patrie – Overture, Op 19; Overture in A; Marche funèbre in B minor

Reviewed on Mon 06 Apr, 2015

Do you remember The Toreador's Song or the sultry Habañera, both from the opera Carmen? Well, you're in for a treat with this disc: more melodiousness, sunny and clear sounds, expert orchestral writing and bouncing rhythms. Above all, this Naxos anthology offers the very real pleasure of new discovery. The best-known work is the Petite Suite from Jeux d'enfants, with its famous final, joyful 'Galop'. The biggest offering here is Bizet's 'other' symphony called Roma. If, like me, you spend some time with Central European repertoire, this will come as refreshing as a mountain stream in the Auvergne. The rest of the programme comprises the exuberant (and little-heard) Patrie Overture, another Overture in A major of no mean substance and a stirring funeral march. Everything is played with authentic verve by the excellent RTÉ orchestra under Jean-Luc Tingaud in a suitably warm acoustic.
–Ivor Solomons