In concert programming, the “sandwich”, an overture, followed by a concerto and closed with a symphony is a proven succes. Also makes a nice Spotify playlist where you can combine you own armchair concerthall together :-)
For this playlist I’ve chosen three French works from the 19th century:
Camille Saint-Saens 1872 Le Rouet d'Omphale (Omphale's Spinning Wheel) is one of the composers symphonic poems based on Greek mythology. Rather more an atmospheric than a literal description of story about Hercules travesty adventures… The performance of this piece by Charles Dutoit is a long time favorite, with fine playing by the Philharmonia Orchestra.
For Édouard Lalo’s 1874 “Violin Concerto” (called “Symphonie” Espangole) I had two choices in digital recordings; the secure and firm Sarah Chang and the playful, more imaginative Christian Tetzlaff. Both versions had their own merits, but the “symphony” factor, in this case the magnificent playing by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Libor Pesek, made me go for the Tetzlaff version. Thrilling musicality :-)
The three movement 1890 symphony in B-flat Major is an underrated masterpiece, composed by Ernest Chausson. Cyclic in form, just as in Cesar Franck’s better known symphony, but darker in tone and especially the forward looking harmonies. Sibelius is not far away in this work. Although the BBC Symphony Orchestra is a British Orchestra, the “sound” conductor Yan Pascal Tortelier elicits is idiomatically French. Fine listening experience.
Hope you will enjoy this French “concert at home” playlist…!
Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921)
Le Rouet d’Omphale op 31
Charles Dutoit, conductor
Édouard Lalo (1823-1892)
Symphonie Espagnole in d minor op 21
Christian Tetzlaff, violin
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
Libor Pesek, conductor
Ernest Chausson (1855-1899)
Symphony in Bb Major op 20
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Yan Pascal Tortelier, conductor