Country : Luxembourg / Russia / Spain Label : Pentatone Genres and styles : Classical Year : 2020

Frank : Symphony in D minor, FWV 48 & Symphonic Variations in F Sharp minor, FWV 46

· by Laurence Gauvin

The Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra presents two flagship works from the repertoire of the French composer César Frank. Under the baton of Gustavo Gimeno, artistic director and principal conductor of the orchestra, the great Symphony in D minor (1886-1888) and Symphonic Variations (1885) for piano and orchestra are performed. Through its interpretation, the Luxembourg formation succeeds in bringing out the main characteristics of late symphonic Romanticism in these two works, namely a marked character and omnipresent emotionalism. The orchestra stands out for its ability to interpret with accuracy the different emotions that Frank brings out through the three movements of his symphony. The colossal first movement is rendered with a bubbling ardour, while the second, much more refined in texture, is imbued with a lightness and innocence that the ensemble brilliantly depicts. The third movement, reminiscent of the Beethoven’s final symphonies, is grandiose and full of energy. This professionalism and immense technique are also found in the Symphonic Variations, featuring Russian pianist Denis Kozhukhin. As the work is a constant dialogue between the orchestra and the soloist, Kozhukhin’s pianistic playing can be appreciated at many moments, and it lives up to all expectations. This album does perfect justice to the two works it presents, and spotlights virtuosity as well as the mastery of language of César Frank, a great representative of late French Romanticism. 

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