WORKS: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice; La Péri: Fanfare; La Péri: Poème dansé; Symphony in C
PERFORMER: RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra/ Jean-Luc Tingaud
CATALOGUE NO: 8.573296
Even before Mickey Mouse, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice was a hit from its premiere in 1897. Yet despite its success, Dukas’s other works have remained in the shadows. This is a pity, as each of the handful of completed pieces by this self-critical perfectionist is of the highest quality, especially those on this new disc, released in time for the 150th anniversary of Dukas’s birth.
It is clearly a labour of love for conductor Jean-Luc Tingaud. He has not only polished the playing of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra to a beguiling level of Gallic sparkle, but also consulted manuscript sources for all three works. The result, especially in the ballet La Péri, is a performance of sumptuous beauty allied to fine control. There is some gorgeous horn playing and, in Tingaud’s hands, there is plenty of space for the delicate finesses of Dukas’s orchestration.
The feather-light opening of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice also caresses the ear, though here and in the Symphony in C the immense care taken over the score occasionally prevents the music entirely lifting from the page. The recording is wonderfully airy and atmospheric at the upper end, even if the underlying texture is occasionally obscured. The quibbles are minor, though, especially when the outer movements of the Symphony conclude with such glistening joie de vivre.