In the 2015 / 2016 season, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra celebrates a proud 125-year history of bringing the best in classical music performances to audiences right across Scotland and beyond. Marking its recording relationship with the Orchestra, Chandos has compiled a two-disc set (at the price of one CD) of the finest of thirty years of recordings that have shaped the reputation of the Orchestra as well as the label. The RSNO has amassed a tremendous discography on Chandos over the years, including great recording series devoted to works by Dvorak, Elgar, and Prokofiev. Now on SACD, its releases continue to receive high praise.
In 1974, British choreographer Kenneth MacMillan in turn decided to focus on the two protagonists for an ambitious ballet that could translate the feelings and emotions of two souls abused by the accidents of life and their own personal weaknesses. In short, how a young girl on her way to a convent manages to elope with the young student with whom she has just fallen in love, only to leave him to escape destitution and finally allow herself to be persuaded by her brother Lescaut to yield to the advances of wealthy “protectors”. Accused of prostitution and deported to Louisiana, Manon is rescued by Des Grieux. Driven to murder by Manon’s jailer, he escapes with her into the marshes where the young girl ultimately succumbs. Although sincere, the love that Manon and Des Grieux share for each other cannot stand up to the vagaries of existence. As a result, neither is able to escape moral or social decline. Rather than reuse the score of Massenet’s opera, MacMillan entrusted Leighton Lucas with the task of arranging a series of extracts taken from a selection of the French composer’s operatic, symphonic and vocal scores… The end result was a huge success from its debut performance in London in 1974 onwards.