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The 2011 Edinburgh Festival offered a relatively rare opportunity to hear Massenet’s Méditation in its proper operatic context in Thaïs. This shamelessly romantic but tightly disciplined reading comes hard on the heels of ‘In Domine speravi’, the brimmingly confident climax to Gounod’s Te Deum, and sounds rather de trop. These forces understand and appreciate the music. One is always aware of being in the hands of experts in the repertoire. Paladilhe is known here, if at all, for Mandolinata, and by reputation for his opera Patrie and the remarkable-sounding ‘spectacle’ Les Saint-Maries de la Mer for his home town of Montpellier. He lived until 1926 and now more than ever seems a bridge between Gounod and Olivier Messiaen, meltingly romantic, often strangely inconsistent in tone (for a sacred piece) but a gift to soloists and choirs like these specialists, who don’t hold back for a single bar.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Choir & Organ, 2012 - ©Rhinegold Publishing