Magnard: The Four Symphonies (ossonce)
Albéric Magnard really is the great so-far-undiscovered master of French music. Born in 1865 (the same year as Sibelius, Nielsen and Glazunov), the son of the managing editor of Le Figaro, his reticent personality prevented him from courting fame or even performances of his music. But he wrote two operas, chamber music, and four wonderful symphonies unsurpassed by any other French composer of his time. His end was tragic: in 1914, defending his estate in Normandy, he was shot dead by German soldiers who then burned his house down, destroying many manuscripts (including one of the operas mentioned above which is now lost for ever). His four-movement symphonies are substantial in length, cyclic in character, serious, attractively scored, slightly melancholic, and well worth getting to know.