Petitgirard: Cello Concerto; Dialogue for Viola and Orchestra; Le Légendaire

COMPOSERS: Petitgirard
LABELS: Naxos
ALBUM TITLE: Petitgirard
WORKS: Cello Concerto; Dialogue for Viola and Orchestra; Le Légendaire
PERFORMER: Augustine Dumay (violin), Gérard Caussé (viola), Gary Hoffmann (cello); Polish Radio Choir, Kraków; Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine; Monte Carlo Phiharmonic Orchestra; Classical Polish Philharmonia/Laurent Petitgirard
CATALOGUE NO: 8.557602

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In his native France, Petitgirard is celebrated for film music as much as for concert works, whilst elsewhere he is known mainly as a conductor: his vivid reading of Daphnis et Chloé on Naxos drew warm reviews in Europe and the US. Little of his own music is available in Britain.

Le Legendaire (recorded in 1985) and Cello Concerto (recorded in 1997) were previously available on the Le Chant du Monde label (as was his opera, Joseph Meyrick, the Elephant Man, also re-issued on Naxos CD and Marco Polo DVD). By contrast, Dialogue, written in 2002, is a new recording.

Le Legendaire incorporates a text in Esperanto but, like the other compositions, is essentially a concerto. None of these pieces is short on dramatic gestures, often clothed in ear-catching yet subtly-woven textures, but these never derail the musical arguments or dialectics, which are clear, coherent and engrossing throughout. This is music for ear, mind and heart, imaginatively-conceived and played with great spirit.

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Naxos, more consistently adventurous than the major labels, yet again makes available for listeners gems from areas of contemporary music that others choose to neglect. If you want to hear more of Petitgirard’s concert music your only locally-issued option is another Naxos CD, headlined by Les douze gardiens du temple.