"...I really didn’t know what to expect from this disc but thoroughly enjoyed it, so there’s every chance that you will too. For a recording of this quality – dynamic and spatially vivid, with good presence – at Naxos’ budget price, well worth a punt."
Andy Fawcett - Audiophilia.com - 25 June 2012
"This would seem to be the final recording in Denève’s Roussel series and it maintains the high standards set in the earlier volumes... The various entomological dances and scenes are characterized very well by the whole orchestra, but special praise is due the to woodwinds—above all the wonderful flute playing. Accompanying the ballet is a rarity: two suites Roussel compiled from his opera-ballet, Padmâvatî, music that was inspired by the composer’s visit to India. The suites are quite colorful and contain more than a little Eastern exoticism, though the music is pure Roussel through and through. Again the superb flute deserves a mention here... for anyone collecting the series this recording of The Spider’s Feast alone would make it a worthy acquisition."
Leslie Wright - MusicWeb-International.com - April 2012
"Scored for a small orchestra, the music is mostly delicate, with several magical dances. It is great to have the full score if you like French impressionism: it is 30-plus minutes of exactly that, with Ravel on center stage and Debussy lurking approvingly in the wings.This conclusion of Stephane Deneve’s survey of Roussel is worthy of the excellent entries that have gone before. The performance is full of life, well paced, and plays up the symphonic aspects of the work with breadth and warmth. Padmavati is flavored with Indian modes and an Arab melody, but, as Roussel made clear, no “exotic instruments”. Its size made it difficult to stage. The premiere was well received, but there haven’t been many performances since. Roussel was aware of the problem and prepared the suite, whose two parts reflects the opera’s two acts. This is the only recording I’m aware of, and it captures the splendor and pageantry very well."
Roger Hecht - American Record Guide - May 2012
"...The evocative opening pages in particular, imprinted with Roussel’s flair for imagery, immediately set the scene of a halcyonic morning in a beautiful garden, ensued by the daily struggles for survival of various insects, while the closing moments return to the idyllic and peaceful nature of the garden from the start of the work. This is more than likely the score that has kept Roussel’s name active within the musical vernacular... this version of his most famous ballet is like the icing on the cake. The interpretation is fresh, the playing commited, and the recorded sound detailed and natural. If you are not familiar with the music of Albert Roussel, start here. If you already know and appreciate his symphonies, then this wonderful ballet should be a piece of cake. Pun intended!"
Jean-Yves Duperron - Classical Music Sentinel - March 2012
Recording of the Month
"When Naxos issued Stéphane Denève’s recordings of Albert Roussel’s symphonies as a 4 CD box set, I snapped it up—having never heard a note of Roussel—and devoured it with gluttonous delight…the fact that Naxos is offering us one more (alas, final!) volume in its Roussel series is a terrific treat... the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, under Stéphane Denève, have maintained an amazingly high standard of play throughout the series, with stunning brass playing and some of the best sound Naxos has ever recorded. In fact, this is one of the best series Naxos has ever released…if you’ve been collecting this series, you will need this CD ... my advice isn’t to buy this album as a starter. My advice is to buy all five in one go. You’ll understand when you suddenly want to shout: “Where has this composer been all my life?!”
Brian Reinhart - MusicWeb-International.com - April 2012
"...Denève and the Naxos engineering team, working in Henry Wood Hall in Glasgow, keep the textures open and clear, with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra delivering precise playing throughout. Le festin de l’araignée ... deserves to be better known, and this strong performance will bring that goal closer"
James Manheim - Allmusic.com - February 2012
"...Roussel’s balletic exposé of seething life in the insect world receives a vibrant performance from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under Stéphane Denève… The music, which is couched in Roussel’s own brand of impressionism, is radiantly orchestrated and, through its descriptive powers, holds its own without the visual elements that a staged performance would provide."
Geoffrey Norris - Gramophone magazine - March 2012
"...Clever interweaving of scenes from this colourfully scored garden give the music a filmic feel, which Deneve gently brings out with exquisite poise and delicacy of touch..."
Michael Tumelty - Sunday Herald (US) - February 2012
Artistic Quality 10 Sound Quality 10
"...This final installment provides a worthy and memorable conclusion to the series. In the first place, the two suites from Roussel’s magnificent opera-ballet Pâdmavatî are all but unknown, either in concert or on disc. They are wonderful, not least because the obligatory touches of Eastern exoticism are fully integrated into Roussel’s personal idiom. All of his music, even the lightest or the most purely tactile and voluptuous, has substance. Denève has an unerring feel for Roussel’s idiom, for that combination of rhythmic drive, precision of accent, and elegant phrasing that somehow seems both personal to this composer as well as quintessentially French. Beyond that, he gets excellent, truly refined playing from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and he’s expertly recorded. Essential..."
David Hurwitz - ClassicsToday.com - February 2012
"Denève and the Scottish Orchestra play very well, and the sound is excellent."
Robert Benson - ClassicalCDReview.com - February 2012
"...Another alluring instalment in Stéphane Denève’s survey of Roussel’s orchestral works with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra … The flute solos are especially beguiling, while the orchestra marvellously evokes the passions of battle, lust and love in the oppressive heat [Padmâvatî]..."
Christopher Dingle - BBC Music Magazine - February 2012
"The work depicts the beauty and violence of insect life in a garden…Compelling listening."
Gavin Engelbrecht - The Northern Echo - January 2012
"This very welcome release completes Stéphane Denève’s five-CD Roussel cycle for Naxos. It’s good to have a complete recording of The Spider’s Banquet (1912), music of atmosphere and suggestion, exquisitely composed, often on threads of sound and in which every detail is lucid and—pun intended—a vital part of the web. Denève and his Royal Scottish National players give a sensitive and scintillating account of this very attractive score, a ballet-pantomime describing insect life, their relationships mirroring human existence and with no lack of drama and poignancy. Roussel is masterly at suggesting an entomological world, creating images in the mind of anyone who might fancy choreographing and designing costumes and decor for a production of the ballet. Certainly this finely judged, beautifully played performance—blessed with clear and immediate sound—is the bee’s knees…which demonstrates much painstaking work on the musicians’ part to bring expressive meaning and clarity of scoring to such charming, imaginative and skilled music…This is a first-class issue."
Colin Anderson - International Record Review - February 2012
"...The real find here is Roussel’s 1913 ballet-pantomime The Spider’s Banquet, which used to be heard quite often. It captures the insect life of a garden: ants, butterflies, spiders, buzzing mayflies, cheerful ants; there’s even an entrée for dung beetles. Stéphane Denève’s sprightly RSNO matches Roussel’s sophisticated inventiveness."
Nicholas Kenyon - The Observer - January 2012
"This coupling of works by Roussel is surely the most lustrous and colourful in the Royal Scottish National Orchestra’s recorded survey of the French composer’s orchestral works… The Spider’s Banquet is a sparkling cocktail of entomological sketches, ebulliently brought to life in this ballet score. The Indian-inspired Padmâvatî suites are every bit as flamboyant, but with a defining whiff of exoticism." ****
Ken Walton - The Scotsman - January 2012
"...these are idiomatic, genial performances of attractive…repertoire."
Richard Morrison - The Times - January 2012
"...A two-part depiction of a garden’s insect life…Denève handles it with great subtlety and refinement…the dance interlude are arguably best moments, and Denève and his orchestra present them very convincingly."
The Guardian - January 2012
"...The Spider’s Banquet, is laced with exotic inflections in the five pieces from his opera-ballet, Padmâvatî… Both are given vibrant life by the RSNO and Denève, with plenty of graphic detail deriving from Roussel’s skilful musical depiction of everyday war and peace in the insect world."
Geoffrey Norris - The Telegraph - January 2012
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