Critics agreed on hearing volume one, performed by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, that Tansman was a composer most worthy of attention, who merited further exploration. International Record Review wrote of the first volume, ‘if the classical recording industry is in such dire shape, then how do you explain labels such as Chandos, which is tireless in its thorough exploration of great swaths of recherché repertoire? After hearing this spectacularly engineered new SA-CD, I really do believe that Alexandre Tansman’s time has come… there’s no need to hesitate over Oleg Caetani’s performances’. Volume 2 presents three more symphonies, two of which are here recorded for the first time. Sadly, Tansman never heard Symphony No. 9 performed in his lifetime.
Tansman was born in Poland, but spent the greater part of his creative life in Paris, where he enjoyed international acclaim. In the French capital, he met the leading composers of the day, including Stravinsky and Ravel, both of whom influenced his composition. Many of his French colleagues abandoned the symphony as a compositional genre, but Tansman embraced it, using it throughout his creative life. During his time in France, his music was championed by leading conductors and soloists, including Stokowski and Ormandy. After the occupation in 1941, Tansman fled, helped by a fund established by Charlie Chaplin, and settled in Los Angeles that same year, where he met other Jewish exiles, including Schoenberg. He returned to Paris in 1946 but his career was never to bring him the same level of recognition as before. Since his death, the music of Tansman has been largely neglected and is only now beginning to receive the attention it deserves.
The symphonies are performed by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra conducted by Oleg Caetani.
Reviews"Tansman's judgement was perhaps both right and misplaced: there is much to admire, especially in the concluding double fugue, but as a whole the symphony does seem a bit of a let-down, despite the committed advocacy of Caetani and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Their Seventh and Eighth are splendid indeed. The Chandos sound is excellent and, even if No. 9 misfires, this is a disc well worth investigating." - Gramophone