DUKAS Symphony in C. The Sorcerers Apprentice. La Péri
It’s been a good few years since I last encountered a brand-new recording of Paul Dukas’s big-hearted and meatily argued Symphony in C, so a warm welcome to this clear-headed and uncommonly sensitive account under Jean-Luc Tingaud. Not only does the Frenchman secure a commendably polished and infectiously enthusiastic response from the RTÉ National SO (whose strings are perhaps lacking the very last ounce of fibre and tonal heft), he shapes this glorious music with pleasing character, flexibility and authority. The slumbering, gorgeously lyrical slow movement goes especially well – and how satisfyingly he negotiates the symphony’s giddily thrusting closing pages. Competition is strong: both the Martinon and Jordan remain great personal favourites, and rival readings from Weller, Fournet, Foster and Slatkin also have much to offer, but Tingaud’s is certainly a version to reckon with and should be snapped up by anyone who has yet to fall under the spell of this criminally underrated score.
The remaining items receive no less convincing treatment: L’apprenti sorcier sounds as fresh as the day it was conceived, possessing swagger, point and mischief to spare, while Tingaud’s La péri – a memorably voluptuous, intoxicatingly fragrant affair – is also up there with the very best (Zinman and the Rotterdam PO on Philips, Jordan and Fournet). At bargain price, and boasting strikingly transparent sound, this Naxos release is surely not to be missed.