Oleg Caetani

Alexandre Tansman: Symphonies, Vol. 2

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Neither as propulsive as Prokofiev nor as stringent as Stravinsky, the symphonies of Polish-American-French modernist Alexandre Tansman are tightly structured, brightly scored, robustly rhythmic, and sincerely expressive neo-classical works. In this second volume of the first complete survey of Tansman's nine symphonies, Chandos brought together his final three works in the genre, the "Lyrique" Seventh from 1944, the "Musique pour orchestre" Eighth from 1948, and the un-subtitled Ninth from 1958 in first-rate performances with Oleg Caetani leading the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Each work follows the same four-movement plan: a powerful opening Allegro followed by a probing Andante, a light Scherzo, and a closing Allegro marked either eciso or molto risoluto. Yet, at least in these persuasive performances, there is no trace of routine in Tansman's music, which bounces along on waves of unstoppable energy. Anyone interested in neo-classical modernist symphonies who already knows the best-known works in the genre will likely be interested in at least hearing this disc once. Chandos' digital sound is crisp, colorful, and very vivid.

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