WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Touching Colours - Franz Zabel, Saint-Saens / Schmitt, Wildner


Release Date: 11/25/2003 
Label:  Audite   Catalog #: 92506   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Samuel BarberCamille Saint-SaënsRichard StraussFranz Zabel
Performer:  Christian Schmitt
Conductor:  Johannes Wildner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
Length: 1 Hours 13 Mins. 

In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  
SuperAudio CD:  $19.99
In Stock



Notes and Editorial Reviews

This selection is a Hybrid Super Audio CD. The Stereo Hybrid SACD program can be played on any standard compact disc player. The DSD Surround and Stereo programs require an SACD player for playback.

Touching Colors is a short (13-minute) concerto for organ and orchestra in the best tradition of German Klangfarbenmelodie, which isn't meant to be amusing because it's really gorgeous, and some melodies have Farben that Klang better than others. It's an exercise in texture and color, with the organ fabulously well integrated into the sounds of the orchestra, and composer Frank Zabel's keen ear keeps you listening compulsively until the end. Certainly it's a better piece than Richard Strauss' trashy Feierlicher Einzug etc., the
Read more length of whose title is the most substantial thing about it. Still, if you enjoy imaginative orchestration this disc is worth hearing for Zabel's piece alone, and the other two performances are just terrific.

The program opens with yet another (three so far in the past year or so) excellent version of Barber's Toccata Festiva, this one featuring unusually clean and clear bass lines, largely the result of an organ that doesn't sound like a truck with a muffler problem whenever soloist Christian Schmitt hits the pedals. But the real treat here is a surprisingly fine account of Saint-Saëns' Organ Symphony. Indeed, save for a slight bit of heaviness in the finale, this is as fine a version as any. The strings play with admirable lightness and unanimity in the opening movement (and at a good clip too). Conductor Johannes Wildner makes sure that every detail of the lovely orchestration (soft timpani, stopped horn tones in the finale) makes its presence felt, and the way he phrases the slow movement is simply lovely. The scherzo also has plenty of energy, and the slowish tempo for the closing pages clearly stems from a preference for grandeur over speed, not from any sluggishness of attack or tiredness from the players.

Sonically this is a mixed bag, though. First, it's recorded at an extremely low level. In stereo, this doesn't matter so much: you can simply turn it up. As an SACD, however, the recessed acoustic and super-wide dynamic range makes the music sound notably diffuse and lacking in impact despite really superb balances between organ and orchestra and plenty of differentiation of bass frequencies (timpani, organ pedals, basses, and bass drum all register clearly and cleanly). Here's yet another SACD that I greatly prefer in its stereo format, where it would rank an easy 9/9. But as an audiophile product it's a 9/7. I realize that some of this will be a matter of philosophy: there are listeners who will find the sound here supremely natural given the cathedral acoustic, especially on high-end equipment. Others won't want to see the lights in their city go dim just because their neighbor wants to play the Organ Symphony. I'm one of those.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Toccata festiva for Organ and Orchestra, Op. 36 by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Christian Schmitt (Organ)
Conductor:  Johannes Wildner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1960; USA 
Venue:  St. Arnual Cathedral, Saarbrücken 
2.
Symphony no 3 in C minor, Op. 78 "Organ" by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Christian Schmitt (Organ)
Conductor:  Johannes Wildner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra
Written: 1886 
Venue:  St. Arnual Cathedral, Saarbrücken 
3.
Feierlicher Einzug der Ritter des Johanniter-Ordens, AV 103 by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Christian Schmitt (Organ)
Conductor:  Johannes Wildner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1909; Germany 
Venue:  St. Arnual Cathedral, Saarbrücken 
4.
Touching Colours by Franz Zabel
Performer:  Christian Schmitt (Organ)
Conductor:  Johannes Wildner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2002; Germany 
Venue:  St. Arnual Cathedral, Saarbrücken 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN TO ARKIVMUSIC STREAMING.
TRY IT NOW FOR FREE!
Sign up now for two weeks of free access to the world's best classical music collection. Keep listening for only $19.95/month - thousands of classical albums for the price of one! Learn more about ArkivMusic Streaming
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In