SCO & François Leleux - Bizet & Gounod - The Sunday Times
Here’s a real gem. An oboist turned conductor, Leleux is a regular with the SCO, and this French programme is their first collaboration on disc. He sandwiches the delectable Gounod “symphonie” (a wind nonet that should have earned its composer, rather than Offenbach, the sobriquet “Mozart of the Champs Elysées”) between Ernest Guiraud’s five-movement Carmen Suite — all the famous interludes, plus the Séguedille “sung” by the cor anglais — and the entrancing symphony by the 17-year-old Bizet, a masterpiece only discovered in the 20th century. Leleux leads the SCO’s crack wind soloists in a sprightly account of the Gounod and has a delicious way with the Bizet pieces: few recorded performances have delivered such an ideal balance between winds and strings, and such Terpsichorean joie de vivre.