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Naxos Artist Jun Märkl specialises in conducting twentieth-century French music for Naxos and has earned international plaudits for both his Ravel and Messiaen discs and his 9-volume Debussy series. The eighth volume of the latter (8.572584) was nominated for a GRAMMY® award and prompted MusicWeb International to comment that “The orchestral playing is exemplary.” He now teams up with the Orchestre National de Lille for his latest release of symphonic poems by Camille Saint-Saëns. The composer is largely credited as having been the leading contributor to the genre in France, and Jun Märkl will record all his symphonic poems over time. The programme on this opening volume demands a wide palette of orchestral colours and stirring reserves of drama, attributes for which Jun Märkl is well-known.

SAINT-SAËNS, C.: Symphonic Poems
Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835–1921)
Symphonic Poems
La Jeunesse d’Hercule
Le Rouet d’Omphale • Phaéton
Danse macabre

Orchestre National de Lille
Jun Märkl

Though Berlioz and, to a lesser extent, Franck wrote symphonic poems, it is Saint-Saëns who has been largely credited with introducing the genre to France. A wide orchestral palette and stirring reserves of drama are used to evoke the youthful audacity and death of Phaéton, the ultimate triumph of virtue over pleasure in La Jeunesse d’Hercule (‘The Youth of Hercules’), and Hercules’ punishment, spinning wool while dressed as a woman, for the ‘inadvertent murder’ of one of his guests, in Le Rouet d’Omphale (‘The Spinning Wheel of Omphale’). The ever-popular Danse macabre is a spooky depiction of Death playing a dance on his fiddle on a tomb in a graveyard surrounded by skeletal dancers.

Listen to an extract from
Marche héroïque

Listen to Raymond Bisha's podcast
about this release

About the Artists
Jun Märkl
Jun Märkl was music director of the Orchestre National de Lyon from 2005 to 2011 and principal conductor/artistic advisor of the MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony until 2012. In recognition of his tenure in Lyon and his very successful nine-disc Debussy cycle with the orchestra on Naxos [8.509002], he was honoured by the French Ministry of Culture in 2012 with the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He is Invited Professor at the Kunitachi College of Music in Tokyo.
Lille National Orchestra
Since its creation by Jean-Claude Casadesus in 1976, the Orchestre National de Lille has established itself as a leading French orchestra open to all audiences. Each year the orchestra performs in its concert hall, Le Nouveau Siècle in Lille, in its own region, across France and abroad. True to its mission the orchestra plays the major symphonic repertoire, with an annual opera production, as well as contemporary music, particularly by appointing composers in residence.
More recordings featuring Jun Märkl
8.509002 • 9-CDs
Complete Orchestral Works

Orchestre National de Lyon
“This fully comprehensive collection by the National Orchestre de Lyon and its superb pianist turned director Jun Märkl truly provide one stop shopping for all of this wonderful music and in radiant, sensitive performances.”
Audiophile Audition
  Listen to an extract from
6 épigraphes antiques [arr.]:
VI. Pour remercier la pluie au matin
Aschenputtel (Cinderella) Suite
Das Seejungfräulein • Overtures

MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra
“The Little Mermaid is a brilliant, post-Wagnerian scena for soprano and orchestra, and it’s quite beautifully sung by soprano Viktorija Kaminskaite. Her voice rides the orchestra effortlessly, while her tone remains consistently smooth and lovely throughout its range. Jun Märkl leads the MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony with plenty of verve.”
  Listen to an extract from
Das Seejungfräulein
(The Little Mermaid)
Symphony No. 2, "Lobgesang"

Ziesak • Erdmann • Elsner • MDR Radio Choir and MDR Symphony Orchestra • Märkl
“Those listeners who like their Mendelssohn fleet-footed and light as air should be well satisfied with Märkl’s sparkling reading of this wonderful score.”
Classic FM
  Listen to
Lobe den Herrn meine Seele
Daphnis et Chloé
(Complete Ballet in Three Parts)

MDR Rundfunkchor, Leipzig
Orchestre National de Lyon • Märkl
“Märkl really understands this music and moulds it to his vision, the orchestra willingly going with him and producing some excellent playing … This is totally recommendable.”
MusicWeb International
  Listen to an extract from
Daphnis et Chloé:
Part I: Danse grotesque de Dorco

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