One often reads that Vincent d'Indy was an influential teacher who left a mark in the careers of composers as diverse as Albert Roussel, Erik Satie, Isaac Albéniz, Joseph Canteloube, Darius Milhaud, and Arthur Honegger, to name just a few. Yet his own music has not thrived as well as his students' works, and recordings have been rather spotty for a composer of his reputation. To remedy this, Chandos has initiated a series of d'Indy's orchestral works, and this first volume features three scarce offerings -- Jour d'été à la montagne, Op. 61; La Forêt enchantée, Op. 8; and Souvenirs, Op. 62 -- in sympathetic performances by Rumon Gamba and the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. D'Indy's style was in part an outgrowth of Wagnerism, as channeled through César Franck, so the music in these tone poems has a rich, Romantic feeling that clearly derives from those sources. It's possible, too, to hear a little of Debussy's influence in Jour d'été à la montagne and Souvenirs, and the fairy tale appeal of La Forêt enchantée seems traceable to Weber and Berlioz, so there's a lot more to d'Indy's stylistic range than is usually supposed. But to hear in them only these influences is to miss much of d'Indy's originality, especially his impressionistic orchestration and his atmospheric use of melody and unusual harmonies. The Iceland Symphony Orchestra delivers these scores with radiant warmth and shimmering colors, and Gamba inspires the ensemble to play with delicacy and tenderness, emphasizing the magical qualities of these picturesque works. The sound of these recordings is a bit hazy and soft-edged, and the performances have a dreamy ambience due to resonant acoustics and the comparative lack of sharp attacks.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Jour d'été à la montagne, symphonic triptych for orchestra, Op. 61|
|La Forêt Enchantée, symphonic legend after Uhland for orchestra, Op. 8|
|Souvenirs, tone poem for orchestra, Op. 62|