All the music is familiar, some of it very much so. And yet there is always room for a conductor and musicians who approach it with verve and cause listeners to remember what they liked so much about it in the first place. So it is with this performance of Bizet, Fauré, and Gounod by fast-rising conductor Kazuki Yamada and the venerable Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. That orchestra might easily have been one set in its ways, but Yamada gets sparkle and elegance out of them at every turn. The highlight is the suite Masques et Bergamasques, Op. 112, of Fauré, the very epitome of French grace in its four compact, old-style dances, each the distillation of a long French musical heritage. The smoothness and assured quality of Yamada's readings here are remarkable in such a new face on the scene. In the brash, tuneful L'Arlésienne suites of Bizet and the weightier ballet pieces from Gounod's Faust, he is no less assured, and the entire program is tied together by its links to classical ballet, a world that one hopes, based on this release, that Yamada will enter. A light-footed, transcendent joy, rendered in perfect Super Audio sound by the audiophile PentaTone label, working on the orchestra's home ground of Geneva's Victoria Hall.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|L'Arlésienne, suite No. 1|
|L'Arlésienne, suite No. 2|
|Masques et Bergamasques, Op. 112|