Top 12 great symphonies you probably haven't heard

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Albert Roussel 

Symphony No 3 in G minor (1930)

Koussevitzky commissioned Roussel’s (1869-1937) Third for the Boston Symphony’s 50th anniversary in 1930, along with Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms. The work’s propulsive rhythmic figures recall Beethoven, yet there is also a French playfulness combined with 20th-century acidity in the harmonies. A strong recurring motto holds the structure together, appearing in the opening movement, then as the thematic basis of the slow movement, and finally as a punchy coda to the work as a whole. The symphony’s strength is its tremendous drive and energy. Like Beethoven’s Fifth, it sweeps the listener along in its wake. PS

Essential recording 

Symphony No 3; Bacchus et Ariane
Royal Scottish NO/
Stephane Denève 

NAXOS 8.570245

While this symphony has had excellent recordings from Munch, Cluytens, Bernstein, Boulez and Eschenbach, the Naxos version with Denève holds its own. It is well recorded, played with plenty of vigour, and coupled with Roussel’s equally representative ballet score Bacchus et Arian

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Top 12 great symphonies you probably haven't heard
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