Charles Dutoit

The Art of Charles Dutoit [Bonus DVD]

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AllMusic Review by James Leonard

Leading off this six-disc set called The Art of Charles Dutoit with a recording of Mendelssohn's "Fingal's Cave" Overture is a deceptive opening ploy. Not that it isn't a stupendous performance -- vigorously driven, radiantly colorful, and intensely dramatic, it's as good a "Fingal's Cave" as has been released in the digital era -- but the choice of Germanic repertoire is in itself highly unusual. Because, with all due respect, the art of Charles Dutoit is an intrinsically French art, and while he can conduct works by Bartók, Respighi, and Gershwin and conduct them brilliantly and compellingly, he is most at home in French repertoire. With the Montréal Symphony in the majority of the music here, Dutoit leads performances that are unquestionably the best since the deaths of Münch and Monteux. The Les Francs-Juges Overture by Berlioz is incredibly exciting the España by Chabrier is extraordinarily evocative, and the Prélude a l'apres-midi d'un faune by Debussy is extremely sensual. And being most at home in the French repertoire means, of course, being at home in the Russian repertoire. Due to whatever quirk in the DNA, French orchestras and conductors have always excelled at the Russian repertoire and Dutoit is no exception. The Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky orchestrated by Ravel is incandescently virtuosic, the "Roman and Juliet" Fantasy Overture by Tchaikovsky is ravishingly emotional, and the Le Sacre du printemps by Stravinsky is luminously violent. If you're not already familiar with the art of Dutoit, this collection will provide a superb overview. Decca's digital sound is so close and warm, it might as well be sitting on your lap.

Track Listing - Disc 6

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Petrushka, ballet (burlesque) in 4 scenes for orchestra (1947 version)
1 Charles Dutoit 09:55
2 Charles Dutoit 04:21
3 Charles Dutoit 06:55
4 Charles Dutoit 13:28
Etudes (4) for orchestra
5 Charles Dutoit 00:54
6 Charles Dutoit 02:13
7 Charles Dutoit 03:59
8 Charles Dutoit 02:42
Le Sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring), ballet in 2 parts for orchestra
9 Charles Dutoit 03:33
10 Charles Dutoit 03:15
11 Charles Dutoit 01:20
12 Charles Dutoit 03:44
13 Charles Dutoit 01:51
14 Charles Dutoit 00:42
15 Charles Dutoit 01:38
16 Charles Dutoit 04:29
17 Charles Dutoit 03:31
18 Charles Dutoit 01:38
19 Charles Dutoit 00:43
20 Charles Dutoit 03:50
21 Charles Dutoit 04:49
blue highlight denotes track pick