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CD Review

French Orchestral Music

EMI 79986
Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Française/Sir Thomas Beecham
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Thomas Beecham
London Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Thomas Beecham
EMI Great Recordings of the Century 3-79986-2 78m ADD
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This collection of recordings by Sir Thomas Beecham is justly famous for the sense of élan and sheer magic which it brings to the discerning listener. Recorded with three different orchestras, the works truly spring from the speakers, a tribute to the talents of the engineers at the Salle Wagram in Paris and Kingsway Hall in London.

Beecham brings predictable energy to the Bizet items with "Patrie" particularly exciting and invigorating. The same could be said for the energetic overture, "Gwendoline" by Chabrier whose España is also one of the most enjoyable items on disc, a tribute to the conductor's affinity with such wonderful orchestral colours.

Fauré and Saint-Saëns are also well represented on this record with the former's "Dolly Suite" in a delightful orchestration by Henri Rabaud coming off quite magically. Chirpy and detailed notes by Lyndon Jenkins set the seal on this outstanding collection which no self respecting admirer of Beecham can afford to be without.

Copyright © 2008, Gerald Fenech

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