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Notes and Editorial Reviews
For years Philips has witlessly reissued, over and over, Edo de Waart's not particularly spectacular Rotterdam recording of Saint-Saëns' "Organ" Symphony, letting this superb version, one of the great modern recordings of the piece, languish out of print. If you missed it during its 15 minutes of availability back in 1985, here's your chance to make amends. De Waart doesn't miss a trick, making sure that the vigorous rhythms in the first and third movements are cleanly articulated, and that balances between the orchestra, organ, piano, and wind section never get confused. The finale remains one of the most exciting both interpretively and sonically, with Jean Guillou a predictably
excellent soloist and the new Davies Hall organ sounding absolutely splendid. The final measures, with trumpets and timpani cutting through the hugely sonorous organ presence, surely represent exactly how this piece ought to go.
Haitink's Bizet Symphony always has been a reference recording, distinguished by its stunning playing (marvelous oboe solo in the second movement) and unfailing elegance of phrasing. Indeed, the approach is quite similar to de Waart's: tempos are swift enough to generate plenty of rhythmic energy, but never too swift to preclude innumerable details of characterful articulation or to allow skewed balances that blur the all-important wind writing. Listening to this performance is simply a joy from first note to last, and the warm Concertgebouw acoustic adds its own particular sheen to the finished product. The disc starts off with the Bizet Symphony and places Haitink's exquisite rendition of Jeux d'enfants between the two larger works as a perfect palate cleanser. You won't find a better disc of these two marvelous French symphonies anywhere, for any price.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
Works on This Recording
Symphony in C major by Georges Bizet
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Written: 1855; France
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Comparable Performance November 18, 2014
By M. Bishop (Clackamas, OR) See All My Reviews
"I like the performance here of Edo de Waart and the SFSO playing the Organ Symphony by Saint-Saens. Although this album rendition is good, I still like the performance of this symphony by Charles Dutoit and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, with Peter Hurford at the organ. The rendition here is comparable to Dutoit, except that, during the concluding lines, Hurford beats out Jean Guillou in the playing of the organ. There is more heft in Hurford's playing during the closing lines of the music and throughout the overall performance. De Waart's performance is nonetheless memorable and is worthy of note and high recommendation. You can't go wrong with this album."