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French magic in Irish hands

January 16, 2014

There was magic in the air when Ireland’s RTE National Symphony Orchestra embarked on its recording sessions during October 2013 for their new album featuring three works from the turn of the 20th century by French composer Paul Dukas. Conductor Jean-Luc Tingaud gives his account of the project:

Jean-Luc Tingaud

“I have been fascinated by The Sorcerer’s Apprentice since childhood—Walt Disney’s Fantasia can be a real trigger for getting passionate about music! After conducting the piece several times, I continued to be amazed by the imagination of the composer Paul Dukas, in terms of both rhythm, harmony and structure. It’s a masterpiece and, every time you return to it, you discover new facets of this little jewel.

When Naxos asked me to consider undertaking another project after recording Rossini’s Le siège de Corinthe, I immediately thought of Paul Dukas and the RTE National Symphony Orchestra! The orchestra has the perfect sound palette and rhythmic accuracy for his music; they also love to be constantly challenged to achieve the music’s beauty and expressivity. Working with producer Phil Rowlands was also the ideal partnership for attaining the right sound, in terms of expression, power and transparency. We coupled The Sorcerer’s Apprentice with La Péri, one of the most sensual works in all of French music, and Dukas’ relatively unknown Symphony in C, which will hopefully come to be acknowledged as one of the most exciting symphonies of the 19th century.

I also decided that this album provided the opportunity to undertake some research on the original manuscripts in the Bibliothèque nationale de France and the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, which resulted in a number of editorial corrections. Manuscripts of Paul Dukas are works of art, precisely written like calligraphy, with many thoughts and comments in the margin. It helped me to understand his intentions in terms of balance, tempi and colours.

I hope you will enjoy this Naxos album which pays full tribute to one of the greatest French composers.”

Watch an extract from the recording session of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

Jean-Luc Tingaud Biography & Discography

RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra Background and Discography


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