Muzyka Klasyczna The best music site on the web there is where you can read about and listen to blues, jazz, classical music and much more. This is your ultimate music resource. Tons of albums can be found within. Thu, 22 Feb 2024 03:38:03 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management pl-pl Camille Saint Saens - Oratorio de Noel (Hahn) [2005] Camille Saint Saens - Oratorio de Noel (Hahn) [2005]

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1. Oratorio de Noël, for solo voices, chorus, strings, harp & organ, Op. 12: 1. Prélude
2. Oratorio de Noël, for solo voices, chorus, strings, harp & organ, Op. 12: 2. Récit et choeur
3. Oratorio de Noël, for solo voices, chorus, strings, harp & organ, Op. 12: 3. Air
4. Oratorio de Noël, for solo voices, chorus, strings, harp & organ, Op. 12: 4. Air et choeur
5. Oratorio de Noël, for solo voices, chorus, strings, harp & organ, Op. 12: 5. Duo
6. Oratorio de Noël, for solo voices, chorus, strings, harp & organ, Op. 12: 6. Choeur
7. Oratorio de Noël, for solo voices, chorus, strings, harp & organ, Op. 12: 7. Trio
8. Oratorio de Noël, for solo voices, chorus, strings, harp & organ, Op. 12: 8. Quatuor
9. Oratorio de Noël, for solo voices, chorus, strings, harp & organ, Op. 12: 9. Quintette et choeur
10. Oratorio de Noël, for solo voices, chorus, strings, harp & organ, Op. 12: 10. Choeur
11. Messe solenelle, for voices, chorus, orchestra & organ, Op. 4: 1. Kyrie
12. Messe solenelle, for voices, chorus, orchestra & organ, Op. 4: 2. Gloria
13. Messe solenelle, for voices, chorus, orchestra & organ, Op. 4: 3. Credo
14. Messe solenelle, for voices, chorus, orchestra & organ, Op. 4: 4. Sanctus
15. Messe solenelle, for voices, chorus, orchestra & organ, Op. 4: 5. O salutaris hostia
16. Messe solenelle, for voices, chorus, orchestra & organ, Op. 4: 6. Agnus Dei

Anna Maria Friman - Soprano 
Aleksandra Lustig - Mezzo-Soprano
Patricia Wagner – Alto
Andreas Wagner – Tenor
Tobias Schnabel  - Bass
Rie Hiroe-Lang - Organ
Peter Kranefoed - Organ
Cantus Stuttgart
Stuttgart Bach Choir
Stuttgart Bach Orchestra
Jörg-Hannes Hahn – conductor


Although the organ is featured heavily, this disc of Saint-Saëns will probably not appeal to listeners looking for something like his "Organ" Symphony except with a chorus and without an orchestra. For one thing, the Oratorio de Noël and the Messe are early, atypical Saint-Saëns' works. Austerely scored for chorus and organ and severely restricted for the most part to strict counterpoint, the music is nothing like the colorful, tuneful later Saint-Saëns. There are a few lovely melodies for the occasional soloists, but the all-too-frequent fugues more often than not fatally bog down all sense of forward motion. This disc may appeal to fans of nineteenth century French sacred music -- the repertoire is relatively small and neither of these works is frequently performed -- but the weak and watery performances by the Bachchor and Bachorchester of Stuttgart in the Oratorio and the Cantus Stuttgart in the Messe are singularly unpersuasive. Both groups are led by Jörg-Hannes Hahn and, whether he means to or not, these are slow, tired, and tentative performances. The tempos drag, the textures are thin, and the tone is wavering. To be sure, there are fine moments here -- check out the openings of the Messe's Gloria and Agnus Dei -- but most of the music making is at best tepid. How's the organ playing? Capable but not exciting, present but not commanding, distracting but not in and of itself interesting. The sound, however, is wonderful: rich and real, lush and live, here and now. ---James Leonard, Rovi

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]]> (bluesever) Saint-Saens Camille Wed, 25 Dec 2013 14:27:08 +0000
Camille Saint-Saëns - Henry VIII (1989) Camille Saint-Saëns - Henry VIII (1989)

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Disc One

[1] Overture 
[2] - [7] Act One - Scenes 1 - 6 
[8] Entr'acte 
[9] - [15] Act Two - Scenes 1 - 7 (begin.)

Disc Two

[1] Act Two - Scene 7 (concl.) 
[2] Act Three 
[3] Act Four - 1st Tableau 
[4] Act Four - 2nd Tableau

[5] to Act One 
[6] to Act Two 
[7] to Act Three 
[8] to Act Four

Henry VIII, roi d'Angleterre - Alain Fondary
Anne de Boleyn - Magali Chalbeau-Damonte
Catherine d'Aragon - Francoise Pollet
Le duc de Norfolk - Patrick Meroni
Don Gomez de Feria - Christian Lara
Earl de Surrey - Daniel Gomez Vallejo
Lady Clarence - Franasoise Viran Garter
Freddie Bense - Michel Denonfoux

Chœurs des Opéras du Rhin et de Montpellier
Orchestre philharmonique de Montpellier
Sir John Pritchard – conductor


When, in his ''Letter from France'' in the December issue, Andre Tubeuf mentioned the production in Compiegne of Saint-Saens's Henry VIII, I pricked up my ears and wondered whether a recording would be forthcoming—for this work, though very rarely heard, is not only written with outstanding skill (there are several big ensembles with anything up to 14 vocal parts) and some thematic distinction, but has a strong dramatic libretto with firm characterization. Unlike many operas, it doesn't play ducks and drakes with historical events (though it telescopes them a bit), even if it superimposes on them a story of Anne Boleyn having had an affair abroad with the Spanish ambassador at Henry's court; and having been designed for the Paris Opera, it includes a ballet and a big spectacular scene of Catherine of Aragon's trial and Henry's proclamation of himself, after his excommunication, as head of the Anglican Church.

Henry VIII was very well received at its premiere in 1883 and was widely taken up in several countries to the end of the century, and its revival now is much to be welcomed. With fine moments such as the duet between Henry and Anne and that between Anne and Gomez, Catherine's trial scene and her dying lament, and a quartet right at the end, this is still, despite the weaknesses in the performance outlined above, an opera to savour.' --- Lionel Salter,


Although it remained a somewhat marginal work in the operatic repertoire for most of the twentieth century, Camille Saint-Saëns' operatic version of Shakespeare's Henry VIII enjoyed considerable success in the years following its premiere in March 1883. Despite the work's respectable runs in international venues, however, Saint-Saëns felt that the opera deserved a better reception. "How a work like this is not in the repertory everywhere," Saint-Saëns wrote to his publisher in 1909, "that is what I refuse to understand." The composer would have been pleased to observe the handful of revivals the work enjoyed in the 1980s and 1990s; likewise, contemporary audiences would find much to enjoy in this work, in which a powerfully dramatic narrative provides a suitable vehicle for Saint-Saëns' sophisticated compositional voice. The opera, on a libretto by Pierre Léonce Détroyat and Paul Armand Silvestre (with several alterations and a few extensive additions by the composer), tells the story of Henry VIII's infamous rise to power in the beginning of the sixteenth century: his abandonment of Queen Catherine d'Aragon for Anne Boleyn, his subsequent confrontation with the Pope and the Roman Church, and finally, his (and his country's) rejection of Rome's authority. In an effort to evoke the story's historical context, Saint-Saëns researched English music from the period and incorporated several tunes into his score. The Prelude, for example, contains a number of English, Scottish, and Irish folk melodies, while the nationalistic bent of Henry's triumphant tirade against the Pope at the end of Act III is underscored by a forgotten air Saint-Saëns discovered in the library at Buckingham Palace. Still, it is drama rather than historical authenticity that drives the work. Cast in four acts, the work unfolds at a careful pace, with the various intertwining strands of the drama -- romantic, religious, political -- maintaining a constant tension until the ominous conclusion. Saint-Saëns repeatedly stated that he valued emotion and expression above all, and took particular pride in such emotionally charged scenes as the love duet between Henry and Anne in Act II and the quartet at the end of the opera's last act, in which Henry confronts the dying Queen Catherine, her replacement Anne (whose loyalty the king has begun to question), and Anne's former suitor Don Gomez. In the end, all succumb to the king's heavy hand. --- Jeremy Grimshaw, Rovi

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]]> (bluesever) Saint-Saens Camille Sat, 26 Nov 2016 14:41:16 +0000
Camille Saint-Saëns - Music for Violin and Orchestra (1998) Camille Saint-Saëns - Music for Violin and Orchestra (1998)

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Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No. 1 in A Major, Op. 20
1.   I. Allegro 00:04:11
2.   II. Andante espressivo 00:01:44
3.   III. Tempo I 00:04:45

4.   Introduction et rondo capriccioso in A Minor, Op. 28 00:08:42
5.   Romance in C Major, Op. 48 00:06:12
6.   Havanaise in E Major, Op. 83 00:08:25
7.   Sarabande No. 1, Op. 93 00:05:43
8.   Morceau de concert in G Major, Op. 62 00:09:23

Jean-Jacques Kantorow  - violin
Tapiola Sinfonietta
Jean-Jacques Kantorow  - conductor


Camille Saint-Saëns' Violin Concerto No. 1 in A major, Op. 20, was often referred to by his contemporaries as a Konzertstück, the then-current term for a one-movement concerto, even though the composer wrote it as three distinct movements. It's easy to understand the confusion, though; the concerto is actually written in large-scale ternary form, with an Andante espressivo middle movement enclosed by an opening Allegro and what is called its reprise. However, that schematic layout doesn't quite capture Saint-Saëns' invention, which continually reuses, reorganizes, and recasts material over the concerto's quarter-hour span to create a dense, lively texture of ideas. Op. 20 must have proved a splendid concertante vehicle for Pablo de Sarasate, its dedicatee, who was only 15 at the time. The violin introduces the idea that will dominate the discourse; a few bold, choppy chords followed by a precipitous rise and descent. After the orchestra takes up the idea, the violins re-enters with a sinuous, suave derivative of the opening that it develops over shifting orchestral textures, before introducing another subject, in the minor mode. This subject, songful and hushed, contains a descent and rise which register as an opposition to the opposite movement in the opening subject. That opening subject returns to dominate the rest of the movement, which ends on more suave violin soloing that trills directly into the Andante. This Andante uses a reticent woodwind figure, derived from the opening subject's chords, to frame a leisurely violin melody that references both the opening subject and the minor subject of the previous movement. The third movement's title of "reprise" must be one of the bigger understatements in nineteenth century music; while the same material is developed, the development takes radically different turns, including a surprisingly peaceful moment in which the opening subject's chords, quiet and unadorned, move from section to section of the orchestra, pushed by sweet sustained notes on the violin. The interplay of subjects and derivatives thereof pushes the music onward with both wit and vigor throughout. --- Andrew Lindemann Malone, Rovi

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]]> (bluesever) Saint-Saens Camille Wed, 29 Sep 2010 15:00:46 +0000
Camille Saint-Saens – Cello Concerto (2007) Camille Saint-Saens – Cello Concerto (2007)

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1 Allegro non troppo
2 Allegretto con moto
3 Molto allegro

Jacqueline du Pre - cello
The Philadelphia Orchestra
Daniel Barenboim – conductor


The first performance of the Cello Concerto was given on January 19, 1873, at the Paris Conservatoire, then a bastion of conservatism that usually programmed only works by old or dead masters. The Conservatoire's acceptance of the concerto gives an idea of the esteem in which Saint-Saëns was held at the time.

Formally, the Cello Concerto in A minor is an extension of the technique Saint-Saëns used for the much earlier Violin Concerto in A major of 1859. There are no pauses between the three sections of the Cello Concerto, although these are clearly delineated and have different tempo markings. Some analysts have described the work as a single, sonata-form movement with a free recapitulation, while others have suggested the work is a three-movement structure with shared material between the first and last movements. What is most important is the element of contrast as a driving force in the piece, which was composed not long after Saint-Saëns conducted performances of Liszt's symphonic poems. Saint-Saëns now began composing such works himself, such as the Danse macabre of 1874. Much of the bombast found in Liszt's tone poems, however, is absent from those by Saint-Saëns, but the idea of thematic transformation is an important element.

Marked Allegro non troppo, the first movement begins with an aggressive melody built of triplets from the solo cello. The lyrical, meditative theme for the cello that follows is accompanied by the triplet figure in the orchestra. A new, Animato passage with double stops for the cello leads to an even faster tempo with yet another theme, this appearing in the orchestra and on F major. Just when it seems like this will be the new key, the opening triplet idea sounds again in the cello, but on D major, and development of the first and second themes ensues.

After a rest just long enough for the cellist to take a breath, the second section, Allegretto con moto, begins with the orchestra. This segment is a delicate minuet with a narrow-range and stately melody. When the cello enters, it first sounds alone before the orchestra begins the minuet again beneath the cello's countermelody. After the cello takes up the minuet tune, there is a cadenza for the soloist, which leads to fragments of the minuet theme in different harmonies, finally settling on B flat as the Allegro tempo returns.

The triplet theme from the first movement, now in the orchestra, opens the finale. Saint-Saëns varies this material to return to the tonic before a new idea, Un peu moins vite, sounds in the solo cello. Given forward impetus through syncopation, the rhythm is Sarabande-like until the cello takes off with a flurry of sixteenth notes that pushes the harmony away from A minor. Contrast is a salient feature of the rest of the piece, which behaves somewhat like a rondo. The opening triplet theme and the third theme of the first movement introduce the coda, which contains new material and closes the piece in A major. ---John Palmer, Rovi

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]]> (bluesever) Saint-Saens Camille Thu, 18 Feb 2010 20:57:57 +0000
Camille Saint-Saens – Danse Macabre & Symphonic Poems etc… (1991) Camille Saint-Saens – Danse Macabre & Symphonic Poems etc… (1991)

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1.Danse macabre, symphonic poem in G minor, Op. 40
2. Pháeton Le Rouet d'Omphale, symphonic poem in A major, Op. 31
3. Le rouet d'Omphale Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, for violin & orchestra in A minor, Op. 28 
4. Introduction et Rondo capriccio Havanaise, in E major for violin & piano (or orchestra), Op. 83
5. Havanaise La jeunesse d'Hercule, symphonic poem in E flat major, Op. 50
6. La Jeunesse d'Hercule Marche héroïque, for orchestra in E flat major, Op. 34
7. Marche héroique, for orchestra in E flat major, Op. 34

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (3, 4, 5, 7)
London Philharmonia Orchestra (1, 2, 6)
Kyung Wha Chung – violin (3, 4)
Charles Dutoit - conductor 


This Decca compilation joins together symphonic poems by the French composer Camille Saint-Saens from the 1870s together with two of his well-known virtuosic violin & orchestra works. The performance is absolutely excellent - very sensitive and refined.

Dutoit and the Philharmonia cover the orchestral works, which are from earlier on in Saint-Saens' careers. The "Danse macabre" is the best-known piece but other works, such as "Phaeton", "The Wheel of Omphale" and the lengthy "Youth of Hercules" also have a reputation. Dutoit included a lesser-known "Marche heroique" in the package as well, a work St-Saens wrote for a friend killed in the 1870 war with Germany. The always excellent Kyung-Wha Chung is also featured in two hair-raisingly difficult pieces for violin & orchestra. While there is some patchy playing in "Hercules" and the last note of "Omphale" is flubbed, these occasional lapses shouldn't detract from a very fine, effective interpretation of these highly entertaining and often beautiful works.

In general, I'd say that this is the disc to get if you wish to introduce yourself to the work of St-Saens. What the other reviewers haven't highlighted is this CDs absolutely outstanding sonics. Precise colors, warmth and fine detail combine into disc at an audio demo level. ---jt52,


Composed in 1874 and published in 1875, Danse macabre is the third of Saint-Saëns' four orchestral tone poems and is easily his most popular work in that medium. In his Le carnaval des animaux (The Carnival of the Animals), composed in 1886, Saint-Saëns parodies the Danse macabre, as well as works by other composers.

The title of Danse macabre is usually translated as Dance of Death, but Ghoulish Dance or Dance of Grim Humor might better communicate the character of the piece. Saint-Saëns did not originally write the Danse macabre as a work for orchestra. It was first a song for voice and piano that the composer later transcribed and modified for orchestra. A few lines from the song's text will aid in understanding the symphonic poem: "Death at midnight plays a dance-tune/Zig, zig, zig on his violin....Through the gloom, white skeletons pass/Running and leaping in their shrouds....The bones of the dancers are heard to crack." Once the cock crows, signaling the approach of morning, the fun ends. It is possible that this is the first instance of Death being portrayed as a violinist, an instrument generally associated with the devil.

After the orchestra strikes midnight, depicted by horns and pizzicato strings, the violin soloist plays as if he/she is tuning his/her instrument before a solo flute performs a bouncy melody, which is answered by the strings. The violin soloist then enters with a lilting waltz tune, played twice and answered first by a brief return of the flute theme, with added percussion, and then the entire orchestra with the waltz theme. The piece thus far has behaved like an exposition, presenting the principal material, while what follows consists of variations on that material. Xylophones playing the flute melody depict skeletons dancing just before a fugal presentation of the waltz begins. A new melody in the woodwinds is based on the Dies irae, a chant melody setting the text of the Judgment Day and often invoked by Romantic-era composers when the subject is death. Eventually, both the flute and waltz tune sound at once in the entire orchestra, just before the violin again begins "tuning." After a huge reprise of the combined melodies, a "cock crow" sounds in the oboe and rapid scales depict the scurrying off of the creatures of the night. --- John Palmer, Rovi

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]]> (bluesever) Saint-Saens Camille Sun, 16 Oct 2016 10:54:27 +0000
Camille Saint-Saens – Havanaise-Introduction et Rondo Capriccioso Camille Saint-Saens – Havanaise-Introduction et Rondo Capriccioso

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Havanaise Op.83 for Violin and Orchestra

1. Allegretto e Lusinghiero
2. Allegro
3. Allegretto non troppo

Introduction et Rondo Capriccioso Op.28 for Violin and Orchestra

1. Andante
2. Allegro non troppo
3. Piu Allegro

Jascha Heifetz – violin
RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra
William Steinberg – conductor


Saint-Saëns completed the Havanaise in E major for violin and orchestra, Op. 83, in 1887; however, the work's origins predate this by two years. In November 1885, the composer set out on a concert tour with the violinist, Raphael Diaz Albertini, playing throughout northern France before moving on to Germany. While in Brest on a cold night, Saint-Saëns built a fire in his hotel room, the popping sound of the burning wood sparking a melodic idea in his mind. Saint-Saëns originally wrote the piece for violin and piano, soon after orchestrating the piano accompaniment. The Havanaise, Op. 83, was published in 1888 in Paris with a dedication to Albertini.

A havanaise (habañera in Spanish) is a dance in 2/4 time that developed in Cuba from African rhythms. Saint-Saëns' Latin-sounding main theme consists of an eighth note triplet on the first beat of the measure and a duplet on the second, creating a Latin rhythm that appealed to Albertini, who had Cuban origins. The drooping melody is punctuated with fiery virtuosic passages and whenever it moves away from the havanaise rhythm and becomes reflective, a soft drum steps in to remind us of the opening dance. After a quick passage, we hear two more themes, these more Romantic in flavor than the main theme. Unlike the first theme, these are entirely the property of the soloist, and the orchestra is reduced to an accompanimental role while continuing to give us the havanaise rhythm. During the developmental, virtuosic passages, Saint-Saëns' inserts quick asides for the violin, as well as the smooth chromatic scales and trills, to suggest glances and caresses. A high, sustained harmonic on the solo violin closes the work.


The Introduction and Rondo capriccioso, Op. 28 (1863), is one of Saint-Saëns' few genuine showpieces. It was composed for his friend, the virtuoso violinist Pablo de Sarasate (1844-1908), for whom he had already written the Violin Concerto in A major, Op. 28 (1859), and for whom he would eventually create the Violin Concerto in B minor, Op. 61 (1880). Whereas the Op. 28 Violin Concerto was written when the violinist was only 15 years of age, the Introduction and Rondo capriccioso is deliberately challenging -- a testimony to the mature master's technique. Sarasate's frequent programming of the work did a great deal for its popularity in the years after its publication (1870); its appeal was wide enough, in fact, that both George Bizet and Claude Debussy made arrangements of it -- the former for violin and piano, and the latter for piano, four hands.

As one would expect from the title, the Introduction and Rondo capriccioso begins with a slow section, marked Andante malinconico and characterized by a plaintive falling leap and rising arpeggio. Becoming gradually more animated, the introduction culminates in a scintillating mini-cadenza that leads into the Rondo proper (Allegro ma non troppo). When the violin enters, it states a theme that has a Spanish flavor, stemming from syncopation and chromatic inflections. The melody spins out into wild arpeggios and gigantic leaps before the orchestra begins a bridge to the contrasting theme, marked con morbidezza. This lyric melody is especially entrancing because it is in 2/4 time, played simultaneously with the continuing 6/8 time of the orchestra. The Rondo theme returns quietly in the solo violin before an orchestral outburst that is a reprise of the earlier bridge passage. The oboe takes the final statement of the rondo theme, which becomes fragmented and developed until the beginning of the brilliant coda, which is mainly a showcase for Sarasate's technical ability. ---John Palmer, Rovi


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]]> (bluesever) Saint-Saens Camille Fri, 19 Feb 2010 13:26:09 +0000
Camille Saint-Saens – Samson Et Dalila (1993) Camille Saint-Saens – Samson Et Dalila (1993)

Disc: 1
1. Dieu! Dieu d'Israel! Ecoute La Priere
2. Un Jour, De Nous Tu Detournas La Face
3. Arretez, O Mes Freres! Et Benissez Le Nom
4. L'as-tu Donc Oublie, Celui Don't La Puissance
5. Qui Donc Eleve Ici La Voix
6. C'est Toi Que Sa Bouche Invective
7. Que Vois-Je? Abimelech!
8. Seigneur! La Troupe Feuriuse
9. Hymne De Joie, Hymne De Delivrance
10. Voici Le Printemps Nous Portant Des Fleurs
11. Je Viens Celebrer La Victoire
12. Danse Des Pretresses De Dagon
13. Printemps Qui Commence

Disc: 2
1. Prelude
2. Samson, Recherchant Ma Presence
3. J'ai Gravi La Montagne
4. Qu'importe A Dalila Ton Or?
5. Il Faut, Pour Assouvir Ma Haine
6. Samson, Me Disais-Tu, Dans Ces Lieux
7. En Ces Lieux, Malgre Moi
8. Qu'importe A Mon Coeur Desole
9. Mon Coeur A S'ouvre A Ta Voix
10. Mais!...Non! Que Dis-je?
11. Vois Ma Misere, Helas! Vois Ma Detresse!
12. L'aube Qui Blanchit Deja Les Coteaux
13. Bacchanale
14. Salut! Salut Au Juge D'Israel!
15. Laisse-moi Prendre Ta Main
16. Allons, Samson, Divertis-nous
17. Viens, Dalila, Rendre Grace A Nos Dieux
18. Guidez Mes Pas Vers Le Milieu Du Temple

Christian Papis (Baritone)
Daniel Galvez-Vallejo (Tenor)
François Harismendy (Baritone),
Samuel Ramey (Bass)
Waltraud Meier (Mezzo Soprano)
Alain Fondary (Bass)
Jean-Phillipe Courtis (Baritone)
Placido Domingo (Tenor)

Bastille Opera Orchestra
Myung-Whun Chung - conductor


This is an auspicious beginning to what one hopes will be a series of recordings of French opera made with the forces of the Bastille under Chung. Without doubt this is the most subtly and expertly conducted performance of this work to appear on CD, excellent as others have been in this respect, and also the best played and sung. Chung's achievement is to have welded the elements of pagan ruthlessness, erotic stimulation and Wagnerian harmony that comprise Saint-Saens's masterpiece into a convincing whole. His success is based on the essentials of a firm sense of rhythm and timing allied to a realization of the sensuousness and delicacy of the scoring. Whether in the lamenting of the Hebrews, the forceful music written for the High Priest, the heroics of Samson, the sensual outpourings of Dalila, or the empty rejoicing of the Bacchanale, he and his orchestra strike to the heart of the matter—and that orchestra plays with Gallic finesse augmented by a dedicated discipline not always a feature of French playing. They obviously respect and admire their conductor. The choral singing, though too distantly recorded, is no less alert and refined, with a full range of dynamic contrast. Everything is as surely felt as in Sir Colin Davis's account (Philips), but it is dispensed with a surer sense of dramatic development.

The cast couldn't be bettered today, certainly superior to Davis's. Meier's Dalila is French cousin to her Kundry, a fascinating portrayal of this equivocal anti-heroine, seductive, wheedling exerting her female wiles with the twin objects of sexual dominance and political command. All her sense of purpose comes out in her early greeting to the High Priest ''Salut a mon pere'', then she's meditative and expectant as Dalila ponders on her power at ''Se pourrait-il''. The set numbers are all sung with the vocal ease and long phrase of a singer at the zenith of her powers. Something of the voluptuous warmth found in Gorr's singing for Pretre (EMI, 12/63—nla) is all that is missing in a performance sung in virtually faultless French. She makes more of the text than Domingo who sings in his now familiar, all-purpose style, admirable in itself, somewhat missing the particular accents brought to this music by the great French tenors of the past. They exist no more and one must salute the sterling and often eloquent tones of Domingo, now more subtly used than they were for Barenboim back in 1978 (DG). I was occasionally conscious that Domingo sounds in a different acoustic from the other singers.

Fondary is superb as the High Priest, firm and rich in tone, commanding and vengeful in delivery: the most compelling interpreter of the part on disc, tout court. Ramey is luxury casting as the Old Hebrew, but as this is a part once sung by Pinza, Ramey probably felt he wasn't slumming it. After an unsteady start, he sings the small but important role with breadth and dignity. As Abimelech, Courtis makes much of little.

Apart from the two reservations already made the recording is admirable, with a wide an spacious sound, and the soloists forward, but well-integrated into the whole. The Bastille would seem a successful venue for opera recording. This must now be the outright recommendation for this work, one that gave me constant and rewarding pleasure. Noel Goodwin's authoritative note is a further bonus. --- Alan Blyth, Gramophone

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]]> (bluesever) Saint-Saens Camille Sun, 25 Oct 2009 20:39:49 +0000
Camille Saint-Saens – Violin Concerto No.3 h-moll Op.61 (1977) Camille Saint-Saens – Violin Concerto No.3 h-moll Op.61 (1977)

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I. Allegro non troppo 8:53					play 
II. Andantino quasi allegretto 7:59   
III. Molto moderato e maestoso; Allegro non troppo 10:48  

Pierre Amoyal - violin
New Philharmonia Orchestra
Vernon Handley – conductor


Saint-Saëns composed a number of concertos, among them two for cello, five for piano, and three for violin. As he had the Violin Concerto in A major, Op. 28 (1859), and the Introduction and Rondo capriccioso, Op. 28 (1863), Saint-Saëns composed the Violin Concerto No. 3 in B minor, Op. 61, for the virtuoso violinist Pablo de Sarasate (1844-1908). Sarasate gave the first performance of the work at one of the composer's many Monday soirées in 1880, the year Saint-Saëns completed the piece.

As in all the pieces Saint-Saëns composed for Sarasate, the Violin Concerto No. 3 frequently allows the soloist to display technical prowess; however, the piece requires refined musicality, as well. The Third Concerto stands out among Saint-Saëns' works in the genre because it reverts to a format with three clearly separated movements.

The concerto begins without an orchestral introduction; instead, only quietly rumbling chords that provide a harmonic background for the harsh violin theme can be heard. As the first movement progresses, it reveals itself as a very dramatic essay, contrasting passionate, effusive sections with more gentle passages. With a basic outline of sonata form, the movement features a first theme that conveys a sense of yearning and searching through numerous accents and an apparent lack of direction. After a few flashy flourishes from the soloist, the full orchestra powerfully re-states parts of the main theme, creating a transition to the contrasting, lyrical secondary theme. Fragmentation and thematic transformation propel the movement toward a rousing conclusion.

For the second movement, Saint-Saëns composed a barcarolle in which the violin and woodwinds exchange material. The key, B flat major, is striking in that it is a half step below that of the first movement. The melodies are Italianate in this 6/8 time movement, marked Andantino quasi Allegretto. Judging from Sarasate's own compositions, the second movement of Saint-Saëns' concerto is well suited to the violinist's elegant style. The excellent close features a violin line of harmonics that climbs to the stratosphere and seems to disappear.

Surprisingly, a slow introduction, which one might expect to open the first movement of a symphony or concerto, precedes the finale. Marked Molto moderato e maestoso, the introduction, with its coarse violin part alternating with busy orchestral passages, avoids the key of the movement, B minor. After reaching the dominant, the tempo shifts to Allegro non troppo and the movement begins. Throughout the finale, the orchestra is more involved in the musical argument than it is in the previous movements. The opening, leaping theme with triplets contrasts with a rising scale that is the secondary idea, and at the center of the movement can be heard an elegant, cantabile section in G major in which the orchestra takes a leading role. Occasionally the movement takes on a "gypsy" flavor before a return of the leaping theme leads to a change to B major, a brief, chorale-like passage for the orchestra and flashy conclusion in the new key. ---John Palmer, Rovi

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]]> (bluesever) Saint-Saens Camille Sun, 28 Aug 2011 10:52:18 +0000
Saint-Saëns - Cello Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 and other works (2015) Saint-Saëns - Cello Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 and other works (2015)

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Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Op. 33
1. I. Allegro non troppo	6:01
2. II. Allegretto con moto	5:05
3. III. Allegro non troppo	9:10

Cello Concerto No. 2 in D minor, Op. 119
4. I. Allegro moderato e maestoso - Andante sostenuto	11:43
5. II. Allegro non troppo	6:26

Le carnaval des animaux, R. 125 (Arr. for 2 Pianos & Orchestra)
6. I. Introduction et marche royale du lion		2:04
7. II. Poules et coqs	0:41
8. III. Hémiones	0:37
9. IV. Tortues	1:42
10. V. L'éléphant	1:24
11. VI. Kangourous	0:53
12. VII. Aquarium	2:18
13. VIII. Personnages à longues oreilles	0:49
14. IX. Le coucou au fond des bois	2:08
15. X. Volière	1:20
16. XI. Pianistes	1:15
17. XII. Fossiles	1:15
18. XIII. Le cygne	2:33
19. XIV. Finale		2:02

21. Wedding Cake - Valse-Caprice for piano & strings, Op. 76	5:58
22. Africa - Fantasie for piano & orchestra Op. 89		9:58

Truls Mørk (cello)
Louis Lortie (piano)
Hélène Mercier (piano)
Bergen Filharmoniske Orkester
Neeme Järvi - conductorfrench composer, kompozytor


The Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and Neeme Järvi present this unusual collection of popular works by Saint-Saëns, for orchestra and piano or cello.

Truls Mørk, this season Artist in Residence with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, is the soloist in the two contrasted cello concertos. His ‘seemingly flawless technical command’ is tested in the suave, expressive, famous No. 1 as well as in the many taxing solo passages, huge leaps, and double-stopping flourishes of No. 2.

The indefatigable duo Louis Lortie and Hélène Mercier join in the posthumously published Carnival of the Animals, after a highly successful recording of Concertos by Poulenc with Edward Gardner, Disc of the Week in The Sunday Times. They offer the original version, which features a glass harmonica (normally substituted by a glockenspiel). Louis Lortie is also the soloist in the entertaining fantasia Africa, which incorporates folk tunes of the different countries in which it was composed and which is brought off with consummate zest, as well as in the most characteristic and probably challenging of the composer’s keyboard pieces, the Caprice-Valse Wedding-cake, written for the second wedding of the composer’s virtuosic pianist friend Caroline Montigny-Rémaury.


I like the idea of a CD where top billing passes from one star soloist to another. And I like a programme that demands different levels of involvement from the orchestra. Thus, after the two cello concertos, Truls Mørk is happy to play second fiddle (so to speak) to Louis Lortie and Hélène Mercier in Carnival before Lortie takes over the solo spot for the two piano-and-orchestra works.

This is one of those recordings where it seems invidious to look for faults and which just encourages you to sit back, relax, listen and wallow. Mørk brings his characteristic incisiveness and mountain-spring tone to the concertos, adopting somewhat broader tempi in all three movements of the A minor (No 1) than such rivals as Steven Isserlis and Jamie Walton (their timings are remarkably similar). Conversely, in the fluctuating pulse of the first movement of the D minor (No 2), Mørk is slightly brisker.

The Grande fantaisie zoologique receives one of its most successful performances on disc (sans narrator) with just the right balance of instrumental virtuosity, sensitive musicianship and, where the opportunity presents itself, fun. Chandos has gone to the trouble and expense of hiring a glass harmonica and its player (Alasdair Malloy) for ‘Aquarium’, while Lortie and Mercier actually made me laugh out loud in ‘Pianistes’ with their grade 3 attempt at ensemble. They sound genuinely unrehearsed and incompetent (as many pianists play this section straight as those who try too hard and over-egg the comedy). ‘Le cygne’ is elegantly phrased and gracefully paced – more Thames than Tuonela – and in fact my only reservation about the whole Carnival is why the two pianos are so dominant in ‘L’éléphant’.

Lortie dispatches the Wedding Cake and Africa with an appropriate light touch and Gallic insouciance, clearly revelling in the digital challenges Saint-Saëns presents, matched every step of the way by the spirited Bergen players and Järvi. It is the best version of these two enchanters since Stephen Hough in 2001, but if you want this particular Chandos selection there is no competition. Lovely programme. Lovely recording. What’s not to like? ---Jeremy Nicholas,

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]]> (bluesever) Saint-Saens Camille Fri, 29 Mar 2019 15:48:27 +0000
Saint-Saëns - Piano Concertos (2004) Saint-Saëns - Piano Concertos (2004)

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1. Concerto for Piano no 1 in D major, Op. 17
2. Concerto for Piano no 2 in G minor, Op. 22
3. Concerto for Piano no 3 in E flat major, Op. 29
4. Concerto for Piano no 4 in C minor, Op. 44
5. Concerto for Piano no 5 in F major, Op. 103 "Egyptian"
6. Wedding Cake – Caprice Valse Op. 76
7. Africa Fantasie Op. 89

Jean-Philippe Collard - piano
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
André Previn – conductor


As a tourist, Camille Saint-Saëns felt compelled to climb every mountain and ford every stream. As a composer, however, Saint-Saëns felt perfectly comfortable staying at home with the most conservative of late nineteenth century composers. Indeed, in his piano concertos, Saint-Saëns sounds less like a late nineteenth century composer than like a Gallic Schumann, a composer of tuneful, virtuoso works that delight and beguile by rarely soaring and never challenging. Even in these warmly affectionate performances by pianist Jean-Philippe Collard with André Previn leading the Royal Philharmonic, Saint-Saëns sounds like a stay-at-home composer. The works are superbly crafted and the performances are brilliantly effective with Collard's impressive playing and Previn's sympathetic accompaniment. But while they are charming enough as they happen, they are forgettable once they are over. No one who listens to these discs will regret it but few will want to do it more than once. ---James Leonard, Rovi

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]]> (bluesever) Saint-Saens Camille Sat, 13 Feb 2010 19:57:22 +0000