One of Roussel’s most performed orchestral works, Le Festin de l’araignée (The Spider’s Banquet) was composed during his earlier impressionistic period, and depicts the beauty and violence of insect life in a garden. Roussel’s experiences as a lieutenant in the French Navy first introduced him to Eastern influences, and the ‘opera-ballet’ Padmâvatî was inspired by his later visit to the ancient city of Chittor in Rajasthan state of western India. It uses aspects of Indian music to evoke this city’s legendary siege by the Mongols. This is the fifth and final volume in Stéphane Denève and the RSNO’s acclaimed survey of Roussel’s orchestral works.
Denève has an unerring feel for Roussel’s idiom, for that combination of rhythmic drive, precision of accent, and elegant phrasing that somehow seems both personal to this composer as well as quintessentially French. Beyond that, he gets excellent, truly refined playing from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and he’s expertly recorded. Essential. David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Recorded at the Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow on 4/5 October 2010