ALBUM TITLE: D’Indy
WORKS: Orchestral Works, Vol1: Jour d’été á la montagne, Op.61; La Forêt enchantée, Op.8; Souvenirs, Op.62
PERFORMER: Iceland SO/Rumon Gamba
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 10464
Both La forêt enchantée and Souvenirs have been out of the catalogue for a couple of years or so, and it’s good to see them back again. If they’re not d’Indy at his best, they nonetheless surely deserve an occasional outing, La forêt for its atmospheric scoring, Souvenirs for its portrait of the heartbroken composer in the wake of his first wife’s death – the bitter outbursts and collapse towards the end are all too realistic. But probably most record lovers will be drawn primarily by Jour d’été à la montagne, which contains some really fine music within its coherent structure. Rumon Gamba, eliciting controlled and delicate playing from the orchestra in the other two works, does so again here and his vision of dawn at the very opening has more naturalness and magic about it than Marek Janowski’s version (on Apex), which I find rather matter-of-fact. Also, in the second movement a French trumpet has one decidedly uncomfortable moment, and so do we. To compensate, Janowski benefits from a slightly warmer sound at climaxes. But overall, I would go for Gamba’s interpretation, which looks for the poetry in the music – not always easy to find, given the composer’s habit of loading on the counterpoint. All credit, too, to the Iceland SO for producing many moments of great beauty, and reminding us that d’Indy wasn’t the dry old stick that his detractors (Debussy and Ravel, please stand up) have inclined us to suppose.