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John Quinn
MusicWeb International, May 2016

STRAUSS, R.: Heldenleben (Ein) / MAGNARD, A.: Chant funèbre (Lille National Orchestra, J.-C. Casadesus) 8.573563

There’s much to enjoy in this Casadesus performance. Like Davis, for example, he benefits from the services of a gifted concertmaster, Fernand Iaciu, who does his solos with flair and imagination. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Rob Maynard
MusicWeb International, April 2016

…carefully constructed and considered—and generally very well played—performance. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Phil Muse
Audio Video Club of Atlanta, February 2016

These 2011–2014 recordings capture an excellent Orchestre National de Lille (France) in splendid form under founder/director Jean-Claude Casadesus. They are filled with the necessary esprit to give really bravura performances of Strauss and Magnard. In the case of Richard Strauss’ monumental Ein Heldenleben (A Hero’s Life), that is particularly fortunate, as the composer demands a great deal from a large, richly scored work in terms of the orchestra that performs it. © 2016 Audio Video Club of Atlanta Read complete review

Remy Franck
Pizzicato, January 2016

This recording celebrates both the 40th anniversary of the Orchestre National de Lille and the 50th year of Jean-Claude Casadesus’s career. Ein Heldenleben is rather French then German, refined and relaxed, replacing the big and opulent sound by transparency, fine nuances and contrast. Albéric Magnard’s Chant funèbre is heard in a sensible and emotional performance. © 2016 Pizzicato

John Whitmore
MusicWeb International, January 2016

The orchestra sounds ravishing and there is little or no spotlighting. …This is a Heldenleben that gives much pleasure. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Steven Kruger
New York Arts, December 2015

The music makes full use of modern chromaticism, but serves itself up with harmonic suspensions, ancient scales and timeless ornamental trills. At some deep level I find Magnard the most subtle of French composers—especially in the Third and Fourth Symphonies. The Chant Funèbre is a simple, effective tribute to the composer’s father, more an indicator of the composer’s style than an exemplar of any virtuosity. © 2015 New York Arts Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, December 2015

For their fourth recording of Richard Strauss’s tone poem, Ein Heldenleben, Naxos has chosen a French orchestra which is here celebrating its fortieth birthday. Not a country we associate with Strauss, but under the guiding hand of its founder, Jean-Claude Casadesus, they offer a somewhat different view of the epic tone-poem, the hero becoming a father figure who faces the daily trials and tribulations that we all face, and, at the other end, comes out triumphant. The scene is set by the warm and tender opening picture of the hero portrayed in Fernand Iaciu’s extended violin solo. That feeling is propagated by Casadesus who does not indulge in the slick brass we hear from across the Atlantic, neither does he overstate the size and scope of the hero’s adversaries in the Field of Battle. These are the antagonists we all meet in life, at times taking on demonic proportions, and where other conductors usually indulge their orchestras in a outgoing show of virtuosity, the Lille Orchestra is more content to show the polished quality of their playing, the many solo passages flawlessly performed. Casadesus’s hero triumphs and his victory leads him to contentment, as if he has returned to the safety of home. In sum, it is an antidote to Karajan’s famous and monumental Berlin Philharmonic approach, and will now sit by the side of my favourite recording by Rudolf Kempe. We return ‘home’ to France for Albéric Magnard’s sombre Chant funebre, a strange choice for a birthday, but a very emotional and beautiful score, played with much tenderness. Both recordings were made by France’s Radio-Classique in concert performances, Casadesus stamping foot the only added noise in a natural sounding recording that avoids the spotlighting of instruments. Different but much recommended. © 2015 David’s Review Corner

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