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Arthur Lintgen
Fanfare, March 2018

This is one of the best-sounding Naxos recordings that I have heard. There is a front third of the auditorium aural perspective. The high frequencies have a flashy, almost Mercury-like presence that is very appropriate for the brilliantly orchestrated music. Strings are sweet and liquid, and there is ample inner detail that subtly showcases all of Bizet’s percussion effects without overdoing them.

…González and the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra achieve an almost chamber like transparency without sacrificing the tonal beauty of modern instruments, and have more than enough power and rhythmic intensity when needed. © 2018 Fanfare Read complete review

Gil French
American Record Guide, March 2018

What a tune fest! Pablo González, music director of the Barcelona Symphony from 2010 to 2015, made this excellent recording four months before resigning, leaving the orchestra in top shape. All sections are solid, and its ensemble is perfect. In the music from Carmen, Suite 1 has excellent lyricism, passion, and rhythmic “kick”. Suite 2 is even more stylish, and the orchestra’s soloists—here and in all the other suites—are first-rate. The principal flute deserves special mention…

L’Arlesienne’s Suite 1 is very well played, and the interpretation is upbeat. …The Adagietto for flute and harp is truly serene…

…the interpretations are superb, the orchestra finely balanced. The engineering is transparent, full range, ambient, and bright but rich. And the interpretations are terrific. When I was done, I felt exhilarated. © 2018 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Mark Pullinger
Gramophone, December 2017

Pablo González and the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra offer both Carmen suites, along with the two suites drawn from the incidental music to Alphonse Daudet’s play L’Arlésienne on this well-filled Naxos disc.

…the Barcelona performances are attractive without being anything out of the ordinary.

…these are persuasive performances… © 2017 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

David Hurwitz, November 2017

We can never have too many fine recordings of this perennially fresh music, but you’d be surprised just how few releases contain the complete Carmen and L’Arlésienne suites. Most leave something out, rearrange the order of movements, or otherwise play with what Bizet/Guiraud wrote. That makes this newcomer especially welcome: you get the full package. You’ll find the first Carmen suite suprising. It begins with the “fate” music, and ends with the movement we’re used to hearing at the start: the toreador’s march and bullfight fiesta. Between the two suites, all of the opera’s big tunes turn up, and they are played with genuine gusto here.

The same holds true for the L’Arlésienne music. Gonzáles offers an especially peppy Carillon, and a dazzlingly swift Farandole to conclude the Second Suite. There’s no rule that Spanish musicians will play Spanish music with any proprietary authenticity, especially when the Spanish music is actually French, but González and his musicians really do take to Bizet as if to the manner born—with swagger, passion, and (in those lovely bits for flute and harp) real elegance. The sonics are bold and vivid, just like the interpretations. I know, you’ve heard this stuff a million times. Well, make this a million and one. © 2017

Remy Franck
Pizzicato, October 2017

Highly colourful and lively performances… © 2017 Pizzicato

David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2017

Once the scandal of its immoral story had cooled, Bizet’s Carmen became one of world’s most popular operas, his friend Ernest Guiraud creating orchestral suites. They enjoyed even more success than the opera, becoming part of the standard popular concert repertoire, the scoring well within the scope of a modest sized ensemble. The original work certainly lent itself to that purpose, as Bizet had built into it scenes that were dominated by the orchestra in marches and dances. So it was that Guiraud was able to extract twelve sections that amounted to more than half an hour of music, but over the years the suites have become divorced from the opera, taking on a life of their own with tempos that would not be appropriate in the theatre, the March of the Toreadors having become the jog-trot that have here in this excellently played disc from the Barcelona Symphony, while the Danse boheme ends at a speed more akin to a dance of frenzied mad Dervishes. This is how modern audiences enjoy the two suites. L’Arlesienne, composed at much the same time, was an attempt to marry music with a straight dramatic performance of a play by Daudet. It was a failure right from its first night, and Bizet rescued some of the music in an orchestral suite that had both charm and vigour. After the composer’s death Guiraud had a second look at the original score to fashion a second suite of much the same length. The Spanish conductor, Pablo González, here uses a very wide dynamic range, with quiet woodwind playing that is captivating. It’s not an easy disc to find an optimum volume setting, but once found it is well detailed and oozing with impact at the appropriate moments. © 2017 David’s Review Corner

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