Maestro Jean-Luc Tingaud is renowned as an opera conductor. But he also knows his way around the French orchestral repertoire. His recordings of Poulenc, D’Indy, Dukas, and Bizet garnered critical acclaim. And his latest release of Cesar Franck orchestral works runs true to form.

Perhaps it was the dramatic nature of this music that interested Tingaud. Le Chasseur maudit (The Accursed Huntsman) is full of frantic energy as the hero tries to escape the hounds of hell.

Tingaud and the Royal Scottish Orchestra deliver a thrilling performance, full of gothic portent (think Schubert’s “Die Erlkönig” orchestrated by Wagner).

Les Éolides has a lighter orchestral texture, but it’s still music with a narrative. The daughters of the Greek god of the winds move over the land, reawakening nature to herald spring. The music effectively sets the stage, then sends melodies darting to and fro.

Some of this material is recycled in Psyché. This Poeme symphonique is based on the Greek myth of Psyche and Eros. Using Greek drama as a model, Franck includes a Greek chorus to comment on the action. Conducting an orchestra and chorus telling a dramatic story is very close to opera, I think — and Tingaurd’s strength.

Drama conveyed through lush and imaginative orchestration, is at the heart of each of these works. And Tingaud’s vision brings those dramas to life. The Royal Scottish Orchestra has a full-bodied sound. The orchestra plays with energy and precision, making this release a rewarding listening experience. Well done.

César Franck: Psyché; Le Chasseur maudit; Les Éolides
RCS Voices; Royal Scottish National Orchestra; Jean-Luc Tingaud, conductor
Naxos 8.583955