Hyperion Records

Symphony in G major
Françaix’ third Symphony is in four movements: Allegretto, Andante, Menuet et Trio, and Final. It cannot avoid comparison with Prokofiev’s ‘Classical’ Symphony, certainly in intent, but such a superficial view will not explain the originality and differences in musical character that lie between these two classically-structured symphonies. Françaix is at his most masterly here; the first movement opens with a simple theme on the strings, amabile, at once taken up by solo violin and flutes, from which we may expect a movement in pasticcio manner. But the tonality and harmony change perspectives and a new theme, flirting with the flat supertonic (!), declares this to be the twentieth century after all. The music proceeds in discursive style until the coda restores, at last, the pleasant G major tonality in which the movement began.

The simply planned slow movement is dominated by a long, beautiful theme on oboe d’amore, accompanied largely by muted strings. The theme is taken up by oboe, clarinet and flute (then, briefly, horn and trumpet), with other woodwind variants before the theme returns, above the rich string texture, to close the movement in a gentle C major. The minuet and trio is ostensibly in F major, but Françaix uses this old dance style merely as a structural ploy, for in many ways this is the most forward-looking movement in the symphony (especially in the Trio), full of delicate colours and subtle rhythmic emphasis. The lively Final is lucidly, but not always predictably, laid out, comprising statement, expanded counterstatement and coda. Texturally, it recollects the first movement, with a notable use of solo violin at important structural junctures. Haydn surely would have approved!

from notes by Robert Matthew-Walker © 2002

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDA67323 track 3
Menuet et Trio
Recording date
16 September 2001
Recording venue
Ulster Hall, Belfast, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Chris Hazell
Recording engineer
Simon Eadon
Hyperion usage
  1. Françaix: Orchestral Music (CDA67323)
    Disc 1 Track 3
    Release date: April 2002
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