Escales: French Orchestral Works

Escales: French Orchestral Works

by John Wilson John Wilson

SACD(Super Audio CD - SACD Hybrid)

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John Wilson's Escales: French Orchestral Works offers an entertaining program of splashy popular pieces that, paradoxically, depict places other than France, and distant times that stimulated the imaginations of French composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Emmanuel Chabrier's "España" and Maurice Ravel's "Rapsodie espagnole" frame the collection, representing the French penchant for exoticism and the powerful attraction of Spanish culture. Hearkening back to ancient times, Jules Massenet's "Méditation" from "Thaïs" is taken from a comédie lyrique about the fourth century Roman courtesan and desert saint, Thaïs of Alexandria, while Camille Saint-Saëns evokes classical Greek mythology in "Le Rouet d'Omphale" and Claude Debussy alludes to amorous pastoral adventures in "Prélude d'après-midi d'un faune." Perhaps the biggest signal of the album's essential wanderlust is Jacques Ibert's "Escales... (Ports of Call)," which offers three vignettes that suggest embarking on journeys from Rome to Palermo, Tunis to Nefta, and from there to Valencia, again touching on the Iberian culture that was so dear to the French. Only Maurice Duruflé's lush "Trois Danses" avoids specific images and references to other times and places, but even in its abstraction, it paints gorgeous scenes that readily suggest magical realms and colorful festivities. Wilson leads the highly talented Sinfonia of London in these 2019 recordings on Chandos, which make an appealing showcase for the group, and the sound of the multichannel recording is spacious and atmospheric, contributing greatly to the album's success.

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Product Details

Release Date: 02/07/2020
Label: Chandos
UPC: 0095115525227
catalogNumber: 5252
Rank: 18242


  1. Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun), for orchestra, L. 87 (86)
  2. Le Rouet d'Omphale, symphonic poem in A major, Op. 31
  3. Méditation, for violin & orchestra (or other arrangement) (from opera "Thaïs")
  4. Escales (Ports of Call), suite for orchestra
  5. Dances (3), for orchestra (or 2 pianos), Op. 6
  6. España, rhapsody for orchestra, also arranged for 2 pianos
  7. Rhapsodie espagnole, for orchestra (or 2 pianos), M. 54

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