“Landscapes” – MASSENET: Scenes Alsaciennes; CHARPENTIER: Impressions d’Italie; SAINT-SAENS: Suite Algérienne – Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice/Marco Guidarini – Talent

by | Jan 9, 2008 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

“Landscapes” – MASSENET: Scenes Alsaciennes; CHARPENTIER: Impressions d’Italie; SAINT-SAENS: Suite Algérienne – Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice/Marco Guidarini – Talent multichannel SACD COM 2929 106, 77:46 ****[ Distr. by Qualiton]:

I recall getting exposed to the first two of these three “landscape suites” via a mono LP years ago.  They are part of the special interest which many Europeans seemed to have in the later 19th century (although the liner note writer confines it to France) in things exotic, and especially having to do with the cultures of the Near East and Orient.  There was a fascination with faraway lands – though Alsace and Italy aren’t really far away and even Algeria is rather close to France. Nevertheless, all three of these suites are impressionistic musical remembrances of the three places.

Alsace – that area bounced back and forth between France and Germany over the years – is pictured in four movements depicting both morning and evenings moods, walking under the tilleul trees and a scene in a typical cabaret.  The Italian suite is a rich and colorful five-movement musical fresco not that different from Respighi’s later Roman symphonic poems. Saint-Saens spent time in Algeria to improve his fragile health, and orientalism had already inspired him in his opera Samson et Dalila.  His four-movement work of 1886 is full of atmospheric and exotic orchestrations, and ends with a French military march, illustrating the French colonization of Algeria. The excellent multichannel recording was made in Nice just last March – a place that itself seems pretty exotic to us.

 – John Sunier

Related Reviews
Logo Pure Pleasure
Logo Apollo's Fire
Logo Crystal Records Sidebar 300 ms
Logo Jazz Detective Deep Digs Animated 01