SCO & François Leleux - Bizet & Gounod - All Music

This Linn release marks François Leleux's recorded debut with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, although he appeared with the group as guest conductor for several years. The news is good. Leleux is an oboist as well as a conductor, and one of the many small pleasures of this release is hearing him conduct the orchestra's winds from the oboe in the Petite Symphonie of Gounod, an elegant little work not heard as often as it ought to be. The Bizet Symphony in C major is even better, emerging in Leleux's hands not as an exercise in light melody but as a forerunner to neoclassic orchestral music. In both these works, Leleux is alert to detail in the inner lines, and listeners will find the performances refreshing, even revelatory. The Carmen Suite No. 1, for all but those militantly in favor of downplaying the work's Spanish rhythms, is the weak point here, though it serves as something of a curtain-raiser, and from there the trend lines are up. A final attraction is Linn's very fine work in the sound environment of Caird Hall in Dundee; the space will be new for some listeners, but it's ideal for small-orchestra music

All Music
31 July 2020