Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Denève(Naxos)
One of the great colourists of the 20th-century French school, Albert Roussel (1869-1937) was thought old-fashioned because he followed in the path of Debussy and Ravel. But as can be heard from this gorgeous disc his contribution was highly individual. The opera Padmâvatî is famed more for its music than its drama, and the two suites are nicely exotic. The real find here is Roussel's 1913 ballet-pantomime The Spider's Banquet, which used to be heard quite often. It captures the insect life of a garden: ants, butterflies, spiders, buzzing mayflies, cheerful ants; there's even an entrée for dung beetles. Stéphane Denève's sprightly RSNO matches Roussel's sophisticated inventiveness.
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