- Ouverture de Phèdre, for orchestra
- Le Cid, suite for orchestra
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the operas of Jules Massenet were regularly performed and quite popular, and even though he was increasingly regarded by his colleagues as old-fashioned, works such as "Manon," "Werther," and "Thaïs" continued to be staged around the world, right up to the present. However, a full-fledged revival of Massenet's earlier works has yet to occur, and the ballets and other pieces extracted from "Le Cid," "Le roi de Lahore," "Phèdre," "Les érinnyes," and "Don César de Bazan" are unlikely to make this 2014 Chandos release an instant hit with the public. Bearing in mind that there are always delightful melodies and attractive scenes in Massenet's best music, listeners with even a slight appreciation of French Romantic music will find something to enjoy here. Also, considering the indefatigable efforts of Neeme Järvi and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande to expand the concert repertoire with neglected but admirable orchestral music, they are quite successful at what they set out to achieve. However, the single drawback of this album is the absence of Massenet's greatest hit, the "Méditation from Thaïs," which is offered separately as a free download at the label's website. That may lure listeners to explore other offerings in the catalog, but owners of this SACD should have received the track up front, without being required to switch from the multichannel format to a digital file. Even so, the absence of the widely available "Méditation" isn't a deal breaker for those who choose to explore Massenet's less familiar but charming music, which is well represented.