d'Indy: Wallenstein, Op 12; Fervaal, Op 40 (Prelude to Act 3); Lied, Op 19; Suite dans le style ancien, Op 24; Sérénade et Valse, Op 28

Reviewed on Thu 16 Jul, 2015

The main offering here comprises the epic Wallenstein, an ambitious 36-minute trilogy based on Friedrich Schiller's eponymous drama, deftly scored and full of lyrical ardour, dramatic sweep and touching generosity of spirit.

This is the sixth – and final – volume in Rumon Gamba's invaluable Iceland SO series for Chandos of orchestral works by the Frenchman Vincent d'Indy (1851-1931). The main offering here comprises the epic Wallenstein: begun in 1870 but not completed until 1881, it's an ambitious 36-minute trilogy based on Friedrich Schiller's eponymous drama, deftly scored and full of lyrical ardour, dramatic sweep and touching generosity of spirit. The unashamedly Wagnerian Prelude to Act 3 of d'Indy's first opera Fervaal (1889-95) likewise evinces a most assured and sumptuous orchestral touch, whereas emotional restraint and unruffled elegance reign supreme in the charming Suite dans le style ancien (1886). The Iceland SO's principal cellist, Bryndís Halla Gylfadóttir, makes a lovely thing of the Lied (1884) for cello and small orchestra, and the toothsome Sérénade et Valse (1885) rounds off proceedings in delectable fashion. I'm happy to be able to report that all these performances from Reykjavík ideally combine conviction, polish and genuine freshness of new discovery, while Chandos's SACD sound is as superlatively vivid and natural in timbre as we have come to expect.
–Andrew Achenbach