Friday, January 25, 2013

Awards 2012 - Orchestral

Debussy: Orchestral works
Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Stéphane Denève

"The Royal Scottish Orchestra, recorded in ravishingly subtle surround sound, makes the most beautiful Debussyan noises I have ever heard. No string instrument scrapes too close to the bridge, no trumpet penetrates unpleasantly. Each delicate wind sounds softer and more ravishing than the next. The progress of this orchestra into the front ranks in recent years has been steady, but I never expected anything this good. Denève’s ability to synthesize total clarity, velvet, and the fire of Charles Munch into a dazzlingly live tour of Debussy’s world marks him, for me, as today’s preeminent French conductor. It all sounds disarmingly eager and spontaneous." - Steven Kruger, Fanfare. 
"Denève is a master of the big picture as well as of the detailed components of this music. In fact, the image that kept coming to my mind when listening to these discs was of the conductor as an artist working on a canvas, crafting something organic which is taking shape before the listener rather than setting down something concrete and complete... What fantastic colours Denève has at his disposal! Under his directorship the RSNO have gone from strength to strength and it is no exaggeration to say that they can now hold their own in the company of the great orchestras of Europe." - Simon Thompson, MusicWeb International.

Falla: Nights in the Gardens of Spain; The Three-Cornered Hat; Homenajes. BBC Philharmonic/Juanjo Mena [Chandos]
Lutosławski: Orchestral works, volume 2. BBC Symphony Orchestra/Edward Gardner [Chandos]
Roussel: Le festin de l'araignée; Padmâvatî. Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Stéphane Denève [Naxos]
Shostakovich: New Babylon. Basel Sinfonietta/Mark Fitz-Gerald [Naxos]

Denève and the RSNO won the first Orchestral award in 2007 for Roussel's Bacchus et Ariane, they were runners-up in 2008 with Roussel's 2nd symphony, and another of their Roussel discs is a runner-up here, which makes them the most acclaimed orchestra/conductor combination over the six years of the Awards' history. Let's also note that Chandos earned the top three places in this category, just as it did last year.

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