Youthful Exuberance: Lionel Bringuier’s Thrilling Performance of Florent Schmitt’s La Tragédie de Salomé (Stockholm, 2009)

Lionel Bringuier, French conductor

French conductor Lionel Bringuier has been championing Florent Schmitt’s “La Tragédie de Salomé” all over the world.

I always suspected that French conductor Lionel Bringuier’s interpretation of Florent Schmitt’s ballet La Tragédie de Salomé, Op. 50 would be something special.

After all, this young conductor has been traveling the globe in the past half-decade, performing the work in numerous locations including England, Scandinavia, Germany and the United States (with the Los Angeles Philharmonic).

He’s also commented about his love for this music, dating back to when he studied the score extensively during his conducting classes in conservatory in France.

YouTube logoSo it comes as welcome news to discover that Maestro Bringuier’s February 2009 performance with the Stockholm Radio Symphony Orchestra has been uploaded to YouTube.

The conductor was all of 23 years old at the time of this performance. But I find this interpretation to be among the finest I’ve heard, even rivaling the exciting live concert performance I was privileged to see done by Stéphane Denève and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in 2011.

Bringuier’s interpretation has all of the “immediacy” one would expect to hear in a live performance of Schmitt’s exciting and vital score. It also delivers fine control as well as great shaping to the work as a whole, which in the hands of some other conductors can some across as episodic (or even sluggish).

In short, Bringuer turns in a thrilling performance that captures all of the imagery – and yes, savagery – of the Salome story as envisioned by theater director Robert d’Humières and composer Florent Schmitt more than 100 years ago.

Speaking for myself, I’d love for Maestro Bringuier to bring us a new commercial recording of Schmitt’s most famous score. Based on the evidence here, I think it would immediately rise into the top tier of available interpretations.

Do you agree? Give a listen and share your thoughts below.

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