Bizet: Symphony in C; Scènes bohémiennes; Patrie; Première Ouverture

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COMPOSERS: Bizet
LABELS: Decca
WORKS: Symphony in C; Scènes bohémiennes; Patrie; Première Ouverture
PERFORMER: Montreal SO/Charles Dutoit
CATALOGUE NO: 452 102-2
Blending Méhul, Auber, Thomas and Gounod with a touch of the Rossini crescendo, the early unfamiliar Overture (c1855, posthumously resurrected in 1938) – remains an attractive if digressionary period piece. Dutoit’s view of orchestral Bizet is less sparkling or characterful than one might have expected. His slowish reading of the youthful Symphony, for example, entering a competitive field dominated by Beecham (1959, EMI), is no more than efficient: only in the Adagio, with its famous oboe solo, does he begin to respond to the maturity of Bizet’s emotion. Correspondingly, neither a commonplace Scènes bohémiennes nor a sectionalised Patrie, unable to overcome its awkward gear changes, seems to generate much enthusiasm among the Montreal players. The spirit is flat. Ates Orga

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