Ernest Chausson was a late-starter and died relatively young in a bicycle accident. The disc at hand thus encompasses most of his orchestral output (without voices), the exception being the ubiquitous Poéme for violin and orchestra and the symphonic poem Viviane. It is gorgeous music, and the RTBF Symphony Orchestra under José Serebrier makes a strong case for it, with plenty of spirit and panache. Serebrier keeps the pace up, yet the performances are attentive to details and colors. As for the competition I suppose it pales a little in comparison with Chandos's later recording with Tortelier, though I would still point out that Serebrier is at least as strong on atmosphere, and especially the finale is even more varied in color than Tortelier's version (though Serebrier achieves this at the expense of charge and momentum).
Although the symphony is still under the influence of Wagner (especially in the scoring), the later tone poem Soir de fête is highly personal. It is a wonderfully atmospheric work, with some striking touches of impressionistic coloring and some really memorable themes. The two Tempest excerpts are splendid tone pictures; melodic, memorable, wistfully poetic and pastoral and charming but not without substance. The Chandos sound is open and clear and warm. Overall a good release, though it must take second place compared to the Tortelier, which also includes Viviane.
Chausson;Symphony in B Flat