CD Review: Louise Farrenc (Erato)


This page is also available in / Cette page est également disponible en: Francais (French)

Louise Farrenc: Symphony No. 1 in C minor Op. 32; Symphony No. 3 in G minor Op. 36

Insula Orchestra/Laurence Equilbey 

Erato 190296698446


There is no question that the classical music business has done a poor job of providing equal opportunity for female composers and conductors. The present generation is trying hard to do something about that and this new recording provides an excellent example. Both the composer and conductor are Frenchwomen. Louise Farrenc (1804-1875) studied with Hummel and Reicha and was a professor of piano at the Paris Conservatoire for more than 30 years. She composed a great deal of solo piano music, chamber music, and three symphonies. The two symphonies on this recording date from the 1840s, making them roughly contemporary with Schumann’s works in the genre. By comparison, Farrenc’s scores are conventional and uninspired. They lack memorable tunes and sophisticated symphonic development. Nor do they stack up well against the early symphonies of Gounod or Bizet. But they are certainly of historical interest and deserve decent recordings. Unfortunately, Laurence Equilbey and the Insula Orchestra performing on period instruments here offer perfunctory readings. Yannick Nézet-Séguin has recently taken an interest in Farrenc with performances in both Montreal and Philadelphia. Recordings are probably not far behind and one hopes they will be better.

This page is also available in / Cette page est également disponible en: Francais (French)


About Author

Former conductor and broadcaster, Paul E. Robinson, is the author of four books on conductors, Digital Editor for Classical Voice America, and a regular contributor to La Scena Musicale.

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