The French orchestra Les Siècles was formed by François-Xavier Roth in 2003, and perform repertoire from the seventeenth century to the present day, always on historically-appropriate instruments (sometimes switching between models several times in the space of a single concert-programme).
They have attracted particular praise for their interpretations of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century French repertoire, notably Debussy’s Nocturnes and Jeux (one of Presto’s Top 10 Recordings of the Year in 2018), Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé (winner of the orchestral category at the 2018 Gramophone Awards), and Berlioz’s [Harold en Italie, Les nuits d’été, Symphonie fantastique (‘the performance has a raw, authentic energy, as if the location inspired the players to exceptional efforts’ = Sunday Times). They also won numerous accolades for their recreation of the original performances of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring to mark the premiere’s centenary in 2013, which was described as ‘mandatory listening’ by International Record Review.
Further Reading: Les Siècles
Tabea Zimmermann and Stéphane Degout are the soloists in period-instrument performances of Harold en Italie & Les nuits d'été.
James listens to a captivating account of three orchestral works by Debussy from François-Xavier Roth and Les Siècles, performed on authentic instruments.