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Kevin Filipski
The Flip Side, November 2019

French composer Albéric Magnard is known, if at all, for his death: in 1914, at age 49, he was killed by German soldiers defending his home. The army also set the place on fire, which ended up destroying several of his unpublished scores. Magnard’s music, which should be far better known, is powerful and even majestic, as his great opera Guercoeur demonstrates. But the summit of his oeuvre are his four symphonies, and this recording of the third and fourth displays his brilliant orchestration, his long, flowing musical lines and simultaneous nodding back to Wagner and anticipating Mahler. Fabrice Bollon conducts the Freiburg Philharmonic Orchestra in an illuminating account of these seminal works. © 2019 The Flip Side



Jean-Yves Duperron
Classical Music Sentinel, September 2019

At first glance, deciphering scores like these must prove difficult for conductors as there is nothing tangible that immediately comes to the surface, but as conductor Fabrice Bollon points out; “working on the pieces with the orchestral musicians, they discovered its real secrets, having found hidden doors and successfully opened them.” The members of the Freiburg Philharmonic serve the music very well. © 2019 Classical Music Sentinel Read complete review




David Hurwitz
ClassicsToday.com, September 2019

Fabrice Bollon delivers confident, flowing performances that fully encompass the music’s wide-ranging expressive vocabulary, from the haunting modal opening of the Third Symphony, to an amazing clean and clear fugal development in the finale of the Fourth. He and the Freiburg orchestral clearly enjoy the rustic charm of the two scherzos, while the profound lyricism of the slow movements emerges naturally and songfully, without dragging. © 2019 ClassicsToday.com Read complete review



Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, September 2019

Bolton and the Freiburg orchestra give us measured impassioned readings, not too overwrought, which is a key to this music sounding as Late Romantic in a somewhat Wagnerian manner yet Gallic, daydreamingly thoughtful as a pre-Impressionist brown study.

The performances are excellent and the music is surprising if you seriously take a chance on it. © 2019 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, September 2019

If Alberic Magnard’s music never made him fame or fortune, it was his dogged defence of his rural home in the First World War that made him a French hero. He was only forty-eight at the time and had just completed his Fourth Symphony in 1913, when the advancing Germany army threatened his home and family, both of which he tried to defend. Born into an affluent middle-class family, he left his university studies in law after seeing a performance of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, deciding he would become a composer. His mentor became Vincent d’Indy, and on completion of his studies he moved into the countryside, taking him away from exposure to the changing styles in the musical world. With his continual and dedicated search for perfection, he had only completed twenty-one published works at the time of his death. That he had experienced the music of Bruckner is apparent to such a point that it would be convenient, if not totally factual, to describe him as a ‘French Bruckner’, though while that describes the weight of his scoring, it does not relate to time scale, neither work on this disc reaching forty minutes. Performances in the concert hall are extremely rare, my only previous contact with his music coming some many years ago when reviewing a recording of the symphonies by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. The Third opens with a very forceful ‘Introduction and Ouverture’ establishing Magnard owed little to the school of French symphonic writing, two movements that lighten the texture, taking us back to the powerful opening, this time with a more joyful atmosphere. Completed in 1896, it was fourteen more years before he began work on the Fourth, the score, he related, having a three year gestation period that was musically painful. Yet its shape and content runs parallel to the Third, the scherzo being hugely enjoyable, and only in the following slow movement do we find a troubled mind. I will not compare in detail these performances with the BBC recordings, for the Freiburg version is on all counts, my recommendation, the conductor, Fabrice Bollon, seemingly deep into Magnard’s psyche while his orchestra’s response is outstanding in an exceptionally fine sound quality. I fervently hope they will now add the first two symphonies. © 2019 David’s Review Corner





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