Among early 20th century French symphonists -- a small group, considering how the practice was long regarded as the domain of German composers -- few are as obscure and neglected today as Paul Le Flem (1881-1984), whose long career yielded four attractive symphonies of remarkably high musical quality, fantastic invention, and emotional depth. Thanks to the exceptional Timpani label, conductor Claude Schnitzler, and the Orchestre de Bretagne, the 1994 recording of the Symphony No. 1 in A major is now available again, along with performances of the effervescent Fantaisie for piano and orchestra, and two moody interludes from Le Flem's opera, The Magician of the Sea.
Fans of the music of Vincent d'Indy and Albert Roussel may note strong similarities in these pieces (Le Flem was their student, after all), but all admirers of atmospheric post-Romantic music will find much to relish on this superb reissue.
La Magicienne de la mer: Lent; AnimÃ©
Fantaisie pour piano et orchestra
Symphonie No. 1