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Thursday, September 17, 2020

César Franck - Le Chasseur maudit; Psyché; Les Éolides (Jean-Luc Tingaud)


Composer: César Franck
  • (01) Le Chasseur maudit (The Accursed Huntsman)
  • (02) Psyché, poème symphonique
  • (10) Les Éolides

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Voices
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Jean-Luc Tingaud, conductor

Date: 2020
Label: Naxos



While recordings of Franck’s Symphony in D minor are legion, complete versions of his extended tone poem Psyché, completed one year earlier in 1887, are much rarer. Most recordings of the piece, including those by van Beinum, Cluytens, Barenboim and Ashkenazy, omit the choral passage from Part 2 and the largely choral Part 3, amounting to almost half of the score. It could be argued that the abridged versions include nearly all of the finest music, notably the ravishingly Wagnerian ‘Psyché et Eros’, but the work gains considerably from being heard in its entirety. Fortunately, a number of conductors over the years have chosen to record the complete score, including van Otterloo, Fournet, Paul Strauss, Otaka and now Jean-Luc Tingaud.

Despite its unevenness, Psyché’s neglect in comparison with the D minor Symphony is puzzling. Franck’s lush and heady writing, inspired by Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde but subject to a Gallic refinement, is both easy on the ear and deeply seductive. Tingaud’s performance is highly successful at communicating the poetry and rapture inherent in the music. He also gives us a very good account of the literary-inspired tone poem Le chasseur maudit (‘The Accursed Huntsman’) of 1882, whose darkness and energy provide a strong contrast with the later work. In both pieces, there’s strong competition from the Chandos recording conducted by Otaka, which is similarly well played and recorded. I marginally prefer the slightly more distanced and ethereal sound of the chorus on the Chandos recording but the Naxos release has the advantage of including an additional work, the 1875 tone poem Les Éolides, and is available at a lower price.

-- Christian Hoskins, Gramophone

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César Franck (10 December 1822 – 8 November 1890) was a composer, pianist, organist, and music teacher who worked in Paris during his adult life. As an organist he was particularly noted for his skill in improvisation. Franck is considered by many the greatest composer of organ music after Bach. Franck exerted a significant influence on music. He helped to renew and reinvigorate chamber music and developed the use of cyclic form. He became professor at the Paris Conservatoire in 1872, his pupils included Vincent d'Indy, Ernest Chausson, Louis Vierne, Charles Tournemire, Guillaume Lekeu and Henri Duparc.


After studying the piano and conducting at the Paris National Conservatoire, Jean-Luc Tingaud (born 1969) was chosen by French composer and conductor Manuel Rosenthal to be his assistant. Opera has always been one of Tingaud’s main interests. Since 2001 he has been a regular guest at the Wexford Festival. In the symphonic field, Jean-Luc Tingaud has been named First guest conductor of the Poland based Beethoven Academy Orchestra since September 2019. He is also artistic director of Orchestre-Atelier Ostinato in Paris. His discography includes albums recorded for Fonè, Dynamic and Naxos labels.


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