This Albert Roussel album couples the Third Symphony with one of the composer’s most popular pieces, the complete music for the one-act pantomime ballet Le Festin de l’araignée. This recording completes a cycle of three releases featuring the four symphonies and two ballets by the French composer, performed by the Orchestre de Paris under music director Christoph Eschenbach.
The Third Symphony, which was given its world première in Boston in 1930, is a true masterpiece and remains the most popular of Roussel’s symphonic works. Le Festin de l’araignée (The Spider’s Feast) was written to a libretto by Gilbert de Voisins and completed in 1913. It is one of Roussel’s two most celebrated ballets (the other being Bacchus et Ariane. While a suite from the ballet has been recorded a number of times, few accounts of the complete score exist. The music is energetic, melodic, original, and pictorial, and the listener can easily imagine the action accompanying the music, helped by the dramaturgical annotations from the original score which are contained in the track listing of this album.
The booklet contains expert liner notes written by Damien Top from the Centre International Albert-Roussel in France, as well as rare photographs.
Christoph Eschenbach’s internationally acclaimed Roussel cycle has contributed to the rediscovery and recent revival of the great French composer’s music.
"This new version of the Third Symphony is in total harmony with Roussel’s idea of orchestral play and doesn’t come down in comparison with the many reference recordings available (...). It distinguishes itself through its great ease and generosity."
"Scintillating accounts of two of Roussel’s most enduring scores. (...) Eschenbach’s understanding of Roussel is manifestly profound and his way with the music quietly compelling and persuasive. Very highly recommended."
"This would be an excellent introduction to the music of Roussel."
"Eschenbach’s understanding of the mixture of surface charm and underlying malaise is marvellously acute, and the playing is often devastating in its brilliance."
"...It is a recording (of Le Festin) to live and revel in."
"Lovers of hot-house Romanticism will thrill to Roussel’s intoxicating brand of musical incense. The live symphony fairly crackles with high voltage passion."