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Jack Sullivan
American Record Guide, January 2012

It’s good to hear the Royal Philharmonic, a rare pleasure on this side of the Atlantic. They sound eloquent in the cantata and vibrant in the concertos…The soloist in the cantata, Mezzo Sarah Jouffrey is strong and compelling without ever sounding strident… © 2012 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide online

MusicWeb International, October 2011

Sarah Jouffroy and the SATB quartet, all native French speakers, give convincing performances, coming together nicely for a relatively uplifting finale to what is otherwise a swirling, darkly dramatic, but wholly accessible, work of considerable depth and power.

The three movement Concerto Grosso for wind quintet and strings is Baroque by name and to a degree in form, but the similarity soon ends: the work has more of a neo-Classical feel to it, recalling Stravinsky in spirit if not in style. This is a low-key, somewhat cogitative work, but attractive all the same, and its audience-friendliness belies both its 21st century revision date and its original composition year—in the Boulezian heyday of the Darmstadt School.

The Concerto da Camera no. 2 was written just before the Concerto Grosso, and is similar in structure, style and effect, though the strings-only scoring lends the work both extra gravitas and richness, and there are seven more minutes of music. A divertimento of sorts, this again is a fairly buttoned-up work, and although the melody is as inhibited as the general mood, Maillard was clearly writing for audiences rather than intellectual cliques—yet there is no sense of condescension. An ad-lib trumpet pops up right at the end like a Mariachi band coming in through the wrong door, injecting some levity just as the work ends.

Sound quality is well balanced…

David Denton
David's Review Corner, July 2011

The story of Rene Maillard is unusual, for shortly after having won the much coveted Prix de Rome in 1955, he opted out of his music career only returning to composition on his retirement. He had grown disenchanted with the politics of music that he saw as dictating success and failure, and accepted an offer to join a pharmaceutical company where he remained for forty years. At the turn of the millennium he was eventually persuaded to look back at the achievements of his youth and has since become very active as a composer, four years ago completing his large-scale score with a setting of the Monique Charles’s poem, Survivre apres Hiroshima. A true story of a young woman who survived the Hiroshima atomic bomb the poem espousing love for the earth on which she lives and her hope for the future. Scored for mezzo, small chorus and orchestra, the music depicts the scenes rather than developing the form of an integrated symphonic score. Tonal and readily accessible it ends with a musical sun rising over the final passages, the sounds of anguish at last extinguished. We return to Maillard’s younger years for the remainder of the disc. The Concerto Grosso for Wind Quintet and String Orchestra began life in 1961 as a Contre Pas with a final movement added in 2003. The ‘seam’ between the two is not apparent, and though obviously of 20th century origin, the whole score harks back to the form of the Baroque Concerto Grosso and will not ruffle the most conservative listeners. Strangely the most ‘modern’ score, the Second Concerto da Camara, was completed in 1960 where atonality took charge. As a work of its time it is imposing, and the RPO signal that it is not easy to play, but are more than receptive to the Hiroshima score, Sarah Jouffrey being the fine mezzo soloist. Very good sound engineering.

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