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Gil French
American Record Guide, July 2017

…the Lille National Orchestra, founded in 1976, here sounds world class, every bit a match for the Seattle Symphony. …Singaporean Darrell Ang, 37, is superb. © 2017 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Leslie Wright
MusicWeb International, June 2017

The first thing one notices is the stunning sound and close-up recording that allows you to hear all kinds of detail in the composer’s jewel-like orchestration that could be easily missed in some earlier renditions. This is especially true with the Symphony No. 2. Ang and the Orchestre National de Lille paint the work in primary colours. What they may lack in subtlety, as compared with Morlot or Tortelier, they more than make up in vitality. This is a young man’s performance, full of energy and engagement. I could easily see Leonard Bernstein conducting this kind of performance and that is high praise, indeed. The orchestral playing is impressive throughout the symphony… © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review



David Gutman
Gramophone, June 2017

Naxos’s busy sound man, Phil Rowlands, gives us an unusually close perspective on the upfront band, sometimes relegating the main orchestra to a subsidiary role but making it clear that the channel of communication exists. That suits Darrell Ang’s forthright approach, …[he] secures excellent results, never less than nimble and secure. © 2017 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, April 2017

If I could come up with only one word for Henri Dutilleux (1916–2013) and his music, it might be lasting. Here in the present we experience the orchestral works as entirely modern, on the edge of such a world, speaking to us as a voice that is original, unexpectedly familiar yet strongly independent, by a consummate master of the orchestra with as much fertility of idea as brilliance of execution.

The coupling of the three works with the readily rewarding interpretations of Darrell Ang and the Orchestre National de Lille decidedly makes this a most attractive offering. There may be other versions of the Second that might have a slight edge on this one, but the three-work package and the Naxos price bring this to us as a valuable and energizing choice. © 2017 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review




David Hurwitz
ClassicsToday.com, April 2017

Darrell Ang leads a bold, gutsy performance, swiftly paced and played with great confidence. There are moments when the harpsichord gets buried in the texture, but I expect this is what also happens in live performance. Overall, it’s a fine interpretation.

…the performances make all the right points of transparency, fluidity, and expressive precision. © 2017 ClassicsToday.com Read complete review



John France
MusicWeb International, March 2017

The performance is always satisfying and constantly displays Henri Dutilleux’s scintillating and sensuous scores in the best possible light. This is a splendid CD that presents the listeners with three undoubted masterpieces from the composer’s pen. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, March 2017

Outside of his native France, the music of Henri Dutilleux largely remains on the periphery of the popular repertoire where it is highly regarded but seldom played. Born in 1916, his musical life was interrupted at a critical point when the German’s invaded France at the outset of the Second World War. He then spent a long period working on the staff of French Radio and was forty-seven before he dedicated his life to composition. Searching, like most French composers of that time, for a personal style of writing, he was highly-self critical, disowning or destroying much of his early music, the remainder often subject of revision. The present disc covers the second half of his life, the earliest work being the multicoloured Second Symphony completed in 1959. Hugely complex, it is scored for a chamber group of twelve mixed instruments and large symphony orchestra, his idea being to explore their differences and similarities. In three movements it immediately rivets attention with a fascinating mosaic of sounds followed by a central movement of relaxation. Move onto the finale which opens with an eruption of brilliant colours, often using jazzy rhythms to bring added effervescence. I love the work every time I hear it, though the missing ingredient is the cement to bind this mosaic together and lodge it in our memory. Seven years later he began work of Timbres, espace, movement, which again experiments with sound juxtaposition, this time omitting violins and viola, but employing an array of percussion. Finally the 1989 score, Mystere de l’instant for 24 strings, cimbalom and percussion, its ten short sections recalling Dutilleux’s keen sense of sound. I guess all three works are exceedingly difficult to play, and a quick comparison against alternative recordings would point to this one—conducted by Darrell Ang—as being outstanding. So too is the sound quality. © 2017 David’s Review Corner





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