I received a package with three discs to review. When I asked a colleague which one to begin with, he said, “Start with the Fauré.” It was good advice. The Seattle Symphony has started their own record label, and this inaugural release is a strong start.
The plush romanticism of Fauré’s music seems a perfect match for the Seattle Symphony’s ensemble sound. Pelléas et Mélisande was recorded before a particularly well-behaved live audience, and the entire program was recorded in installments over a two year period. Yet the album has a surprisingly uniform sound.
And what a sound! The recorded ensemble has an expansive, warm sound that serves the music well. A real standout is the Pavane, which includes the Seattle Symphony Chorale singing with the intimate delicacy of a chamber choir.
Ludovich Morlot brings out the personality of each work; the light-heartedness of Masques et Bergamasques, the charming innocence of Dolly. the dark beauty of Pelléas et Méllisande. And the featured soloists from within the orchestra are worthy of note, too. Flutist Demarre McGill (Fantaisie for Flute), violinist Alexander Velinzon (Berceuse), and cellist Efe Baltacigil (Élégie) effectively communicate the emotions of their respective works, making them much more substantial than mere showpieces.
My colleague was right. If you have a choice of what to listen to, start with the Fauré.
Gabriel Fauré: Masques et Bergamasques; Pelléas et Mélisande; Dolly; Pavane; Fantaisie; Berceuse; Élégie
Seattle Symphony; Seattle Symphony Chorale; Ludovic Morlot, conductor
Seattle Symphony Media