D’Indy/Fauré/Saint-Saens

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2.0 out of 5 star rating 2.0

COMPOSERS: D’indy/Faure/Saint-Saens
LABELS: Carlton
WORKS: Symphony on a French Mountain Air; Ballade, Op. 19; Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor
PERFORMER: Valerie Traficante (piano); RPO/José Serebrier
CATALOGUE NO: IMP 30367 00782 DDD (1993)

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This is an eminently sensible grouping of three of the best French works for piano and orchestra from the second half of the last century. D’Indy’s pastoral Symphony makes a fine contrast with the witty, sophisticated world of Saint-Saëns’s best-known piano concerto. The eloquent Ballade by the latter’s pupil Fauré bridges the two worlds well. I just wish I could be more enthusiastic about the performances: the RPO plays pretty well for Serebrier and the D’Indy is despatched with some charm. But the American pianist Valerie Traficante plays the Fauré with little more than plodding efficiency, and the Saint-Saëns is notably lacking in grace or wit, even in the usually delightful Allegro scherzando. Stephen Maddock