French composer Vincent d'Indy was politically as well as stylistically conservative (monarchist and anti-Semitic, for starters, although he apparently treated Jewish colleagues well). His music is not much played nowadays, but Chandos' series survey of his orchestral music, which reaches its fifth volume with this release, has unearthed various gems. Surprisingly, one of the best-known d'Indy works, the Symphony sur un chant montagnard français, Op. 25 (Symphony on a French Mountain Song), has been been withheld until this release. It's a joyous work for piano and orchestra that follows Franck in its adoption of Wagnerian cyclical devices: the titular mountain song recurs throughout as a motif. But the sheer tunefulness, artfully mapped onto symphonic form through the use of various ingenious orchestration devices, is sui generis. The role of the piano, somewhere between soloist and orchestra member, is unique. The other works, tone poems or excerpts from dramatic pieces, are less memorable, but if you're planning on sampling the d'Indy series, this volume is the way to go. The performances by the Iceland Symphony Orchestra under conductor Rumon Gamba are impressively elegant, and their ensemble work with pianist Louis Lortie in the symphony is flawless.
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