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Symphonies - Released May 10, 2019 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Diapason d'or / Arte - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Symphonic Music - Released September 23, 2016 | Actes Sud Musicales

Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Symphonic Music - Released April 13, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Recording Ravel's music on period instruments is the kind of thing that might raise a smile... until you realise just how much the production of instruments has changed in less than a hundred years: it's the return of catgut strings, skin drum heads, the French basson (and not the German system bassoon which is used across all the world's orchestras today), shaper tips, trumpets and trombones of French manufacture. At the head of his orchestra Les Siècles, François-Xavier Roth gives a new, orthodox, historically-informed version of Ma Mère l’oye (complete ballet), the Tombeau de Couperin and Shéhérazade, the long-neglected "ouverture de féérie" [Fairy Overture] which is pure Ravel. This return to the roots is clearly easier and more straightforwardly authentic for this period of music history, because, unlike earlier works, we possess recordings which date back to the 1920s, and even earlier, which can tell us about the style, the colours, the phrasing and the tempo. But it isn't enough just to have all this historical information to hand to make something interesting. What makes this record thrilling is that all the musicians in the Siècles are excellent, and François-Xavier Roth is a talented artist himself, who knows this music inside out. At which point, his complete recording of Stravinsky's Firebird has already struck us with its quality. This rediscovery of Ravel resounds with clarity and finesse; it is a feast of well-defined timbres which cuts against the "beautiful sound" which prevails in orchestras around the world today. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Symphonic Music - Released January 18, 2019 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Choc de Classica
A new aesthetic calls for new forms: such is the challenge the composer set for himself in the two works presented here. In Les Nuits d’été, Berlioz pioneered, well before Mahler and Ravel, a song cycle for voice and orchestra. In Harold in Italy, scored for large orchestra and solo viola, he experimented with the symphonic genre. These period-instrument performances by Les Siècles, led by François-Xavier Roth, with violist Tabea Zimmermann, also feature Stéphane Degout in the vocal cycle, heard here in the composer’s own version for baritone. File under: out of the ordinary. © harmonia mundi
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Symphonic Music - Released December 7, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice - Choc de Classica
The originality of this recording (which presents works that are, in fact, rather common) comes from the orchestra Les Siècles playing on periodic instruments, in this case from the period in which Debussy wrote these masterpieces. This is particularly relevant for woodwinds and brass, whose mechanisms and sounds around 1900 were very different - more incisive perhaps, and undoubtedly more differentiated - which for music like Debussy's offers a real plus in the orchestral balance. Moreover, the number of strings remains reasonable, this way the woodwind is never swallowed up as it often is with large international orchestras. The listener will be able to hear this music as Debussy heard it, or at least how he would have liked to have heard it because in his time orchestras and conductors did not always have a clear understanding of his style or the infinite colours on his palette. © SM/Qobuz
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Symphonic Music - Released February 8, 2019 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
The premiere of Mahler’s Third Symphony took place in June 1902 in Krefeld (not far from Düsseldorf), but it was indeed the Gürzenich Orchestra of Cologne which gave that first performance... greeted with acclaim – this was not always the composer’s experience with his masterpieces. Originally conceived as a hymn to Nature, in which the inert chaos of the opening movement is gradually left behind, the work calls for enormous forces (large orchestra, women’s choir, boys’ choir, and contralto soloist) and at each hearing leaves an unforgettable impression on the audience. Such was the case in October 2018, when François-Xavier Roth led the esteemed successors of the work’s first interpreters in this latest Mahler adventure. © harmonia mundi
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Full Operas - Released August 28, 2020 | Bru Zane

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or / Arte
Le Timbre d'Argent (The Silver Bell), begun in 1864, was Camille Saint-Saëns' very first opera. All but forgotten, it was last staged in 1914, before the 2017 Paris production on which this 2020 release is based. The forces here, including the specialist ensemble Les Siècles, the fine choir Accentus, and conductor François-Xavier Roth make a strong case for the opera's revival. Saint-Saëns obviously valued the work, revising it as late as 1913, due in part to the Franco-Prussian War; it is this last version that is heard presently. The work was termed a drame lyrique or opéra fantastique rather than an opéra comique, but it is an action-packed work that veers between romantic fun and fantasy elements that it shares, along with a pair of librettists, with Offenbach's Les contes d'Hoffman of 15 years later. (Goethe's Faust is another inspiration: the titular silver bell brings wealth but kills someone close to the user.) The fantasy elements are prominent in the substantial choral sections, giving the magical choir Accentus much to do. There is a great deal of sheer, sparkling Mozartian melody as well. Roth and a lively cast led by tenor Edgaras Montvidas as the obsessed, Faust-like artist keeps things moving along. Saint-Saëns is a conductor whose star seems to be on the rise, and admirers of his music are sure to want this. The surprise, however, is that anyone can enjoy it. © TiVo
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Symphonies - Released October 25, 2019 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
The large collection of antique instruments at Les Siècles' command makes its recordings more than just speculative period exercises, but something approaching musical time travel. Led since 2003 by its founder, François-Xavier Roth, this singular French orchestra has given thrilling historically-informed recreations of the repertoire of the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries on vintage instruments that were available to the musicians of the time, crafted by hand, and possessing the unique sonorities and tunings of different regions. For this 2019 album from Harmonia Mundi, Roth and his musicians play Hector Berlioz's hallucinatory Symphonie fantastique and the dramatic overture Les Francs-Juges with marvelous orchestral colors and a striking textural clarity that almost makes their distinctive characteristics seem especially highlighted. However, this recording isn't meant to be a sonic showcase for audiophiles, because the drama, musicality, and visceral excitement of the performances soon override the novelty of instrumentation, and the overall effect of the presentation is a startling reassessment and a refreshing change from the weightier Berlioz of a Thomas Beecham or a Colin Davis. No one could write for brass more blazingly than Berlioz, and his skillful handling of the woodwinds is even more apparent when heard with early Romantic timbres. The ultimate pleasure of this disc, though, is found in the cohesion, agility, and passion of the group's playing, and Roth's confident leadership comes through in his precision and alert attention to details. Highly recommended. © TiVo
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Symphonic Music - Released April 7, 2015 | Actes Sud Musicales

Distinctions Choc de Classica
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Symphonic Music - Released March 25, 2013 | Actes Sud Musicales

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Symphonic Music - Released October 23, 2020 | LSO Live

Hi-Res Booklet
François-Xavier Roth, Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, displays his deep affinity with the music of Debussy and Ravel on his latest LSO Live album. A fascination with his Spanish heritage would be a recurring theme in many of Ravel's creations. Mysterious melodies weave delicately throughout his early work Rapsodie espagnole, punctuated by bursts of Spanish-inspired fanfares and Habanera dance rhythms. The voluptuous flute opening of the Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune immediately conjures a world of luxurious fantasy, weaving through the music's changing scenes with effortless spontaneity. Every instrument adds something unique, and the whole work appears to float free of form and convention. In La mer, Debussy tells the story of the eternal odyssey of the ocean. He sails through storm and calm, wind and rain, in music that rises and falls with the rhythms of the sea. The score is so vivid that you can almost smell sea salt and see the crests of the waves. © LSO Live
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Symphonies - Released November 24, 2017 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
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Symphonies - Released August 21, 2020 | Myrios Classics

Hi-Res Booklet
The year 1841 finally marked Robert Schumann’s breakthrough as a composer for orchestra. That year, he created no less than two works: his First Symphony, also known as the “Spring Symphony”, and a piece which he initially planned as a “Symphonic Fantasy” in one move- ment, and which would later become his Symphony in D Minor. The Spring Symphony was composed in the coldest winter. Full of longing, it is a work that knows only one direction: growing, blossom- ing, the path to light and new life. The Symphony in D minor seems much more somber and intimate, “a work from the innermost depths of his soul”, as Clara Schumann noted in her diary. However, the audience could not warm up to this bold, impetuous work, and Schumann set it aside. Ten years later, after a major revision, he published it as his 4th Symphony. This album pairs the Spring Symphony with the original version of the Symphony in D minor, the version which friends such as Johannes Brahms preferred over the later edition. Schumann never heard it again in his lifetime, and it was not until 1889 that it was performed in public once more, by the Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne under the baton of Franz Wüllner. François-Xavier Roth, the Gürzenich Orchestra’s current chief conductor, also prefers the original version. With its leaner orchestration, it is certainly the more radical one, and thus requires a higher degree of commitment from the orchestra musicians in forming crescendi, melodic phrases, and extended arcs of formal development. © Myrios Classics
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Symphonic Music - Released November 19, 2013 | Actes Sud Musicales

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Symphonic Music - Released December 2, 2013 | Musicales Actes Sud

Booklet
Thanks to the enormous successes of the movement for historically informed performances, one often hears Hector Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique served up in authentic, early 19th century style, because more and more ensembles play the work on original instruments and follow the practices of the composer's era. This recording by François-Xavier Roth and the French chamber orchestra Les Siècles is an elegant presentation of the piece, one of the signal masterpieces of the Romantic era and a showcase for any ensemble, whether traditional or period. The colors of the vintage instruments are striking, and perhaps the most memorable timbre of this performance is the plangent tone of the cor anglais in the Scène aux champs. But the whole orchestra is vibrant with original sonorities, and Berlioz's innovative effects are just as effective in this rendition as they would be in a modern symphony orchestra. One might wish that this CD from Musicales Actes Sud had better audio for the occasion, because playing of such high caliber should have been reproduced on a hybrid SACD, most importantly because many competitors have releases that take full advantage of multichannel technology. But the sound is certainly excellent, and listeners will derive much pleasure from hearing this fine recording. © TiVo