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Roussel: Symphony No. 3 / Le Festin de l'araignée (The Spider's Feast) ~ Eschenbach [Live]

Albert Roussel , Christoph Eschenbach , Orchestre de Paris Audio CD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Orchestre de Paris
  • Conductor: Christoph Eschenbach
  • Composer: Albert Roussel
  • Audio CD (April 8, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Live
  • Label: Ondine
  • ASIN: B00133GYEE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #470,792 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. I. Allegro Vivo
2. II. Adagio
3. III. Vivace
4. IV. Allegro con spirito
5. Prélude
6. A garden.
7. Entry of the ants.
8. Left alone...
9. Entry of the dung beetles.
10. The ants return...
11. Dance of the butterfly...
12. The spider rejoices...
13. The spider dances...
14. Fruit worms enter...
15. Warlike entry of two praying mantises...
16. The ants dance in a circle.
17. The mantises challenge each other...
18. A mayfly hatches.
19. He dances.
20. The mayfly stops, exhausted.
See all 26 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is one disc that all lovers of French music, and great symphonies, simply must have." -- ClassicsToday.com

"It's fair to suggest that Eschenbach's Paris orchestra outplays them all (...). Roussel belongs in every collection." -- Fanfare Magazine

"superb playing and (...) first-rate sound." -- Gramophone

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Rouseel seems to have become a faded boutonniere, his compact, dapper modernism, like that of the Swiss composer Frank Martin, now reserved for the French alone. When the Boston-Paris axis was strong, Koussevitzky (who commissioned Roussel's Sym. #3), Munch, and Bernstein performed him, but consulting various sources, I can find no Boston recordings of the Third -- Munch made his late in life after leaving the BSO, and Bernstein recorded his with the New York Phil. I must say that Eschenbach's version is smooth but rather bland compared to Bernstein's, which can be had quite cheaply on the used market. Munch, Pretre, and Cluytens are also to the manner born; their versions are easy to find at a good price. Here, the playing is suave and agreeable, but the Roussel Third has to be roughed up to sound like a survivor. The best thing about this new recording is the up-to-date sound, which finds the Orchestre de Paris in good shape.

It would be hard to imagine a more repellent title for a ballet than The Spider's Feast, but with a certain French panache one can look upon the work as a kind of refined diversion for bugs. The plot synopsis is worth quoting: "The ballet depicts insect life in a garden, evoked by the flute solo at the opening and close of the work, and where insects are trapped in the spider's web, but when the spider prepares to begin its feast, it in turn is killed by a praying mantis. The funeral procession of the mayfly concludes the work."

Roussel's ballet preceded the symphony by almost twenty years and is highly indebted to Faure in its gentleness and pastel coloration. It's meant to be droll in a tepid way -- for example, there's the Entry of the Dung Beetles, which sounds like a lot more fun than the music which accompanies it. It's easy to see why this pleasant, debonnaire score has faded away, like most of Roussel's output.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible performance April 18, 2010
By D. Buys
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Please let me share with you how fine this cd is. Eschenbach has the Orchestre de Paris on the edge of their seats and making music of the highest order. Technically the ensemble and intonation are great, and they play with both a soloists mentality where appropriate, and but as chamber players elsewhere- something this orchestra was criticized for lacking in the past. Bravo Mr. Eschenbach!
This performance bears Eschenbach's stamp, but is very stylistically appropriate for this French master composer.
I have good to excellent other performances of these pieces by Bernstein (2), Munch (3), Ansermet, Markevich. I have heard most of the others. This recording is the best, certainly from an orchestral virtuosity and recorded sound perspective.
Since I play the important Roussel piano pieces, I was honored to be given a letter from Roussel himself to composer David Diamond while studying at Juilliard, so my passion for Roussel goes back 25 years.
Eschenbach has a fine achievement. If you like Debussy, Ravel, Martinu, and Picasso- try this!
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