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Saint-Saens: Piano Concertos / Descharmes, Soustrot, Malmo Symphony


Release Date: 03/10/2017 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8573476  
Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Romain Descharmes
Conductor:  Marc Soustrot
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Malmö Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Soustrot’s Saint-Saëns symphony cycle was quite good, and this new project looks to be similarly successful. For my money, the five piano concertos remain one of the most underrated groups of major works in the entire romantic repertoire. Yes, Nos. 2 and 4 get played more often than the rest, but there isn’t a dud in the bunch. It’s really only prejudice against the French aesthetic–the formal freedom, love of color, flash, and the dance–that prevents the music from getting the recognition that it deserves. That, and perhaps the fact that the melodious ease that informs all of Saint-Saëns’ writing makes a mockery of German pretensions to ownership of instrumental music in large forms.

These performances demonstrate
Read more a thoroughly “French” sensibility. Romain Descharmes savors the music’s charm and brilliance without indulging in excessive sentimentality. The First Concerto, with its surprising wiring for horns, has a breezy freshness that completely disarming. It’s played with joyful directness and a complete lack of affectation. I enjoy fast and dazzling versions of the Second Symphony, with its whirlwind finale, but Descharmes treats the piece with almost epicurean relish, nowhere more so than in this sassy, witty account of the central scherzo. There’s no lack of virtuosity, but also time to savor the music’s many harmonic delights.

Through it all, Soustrot accompanies with total confidence, and the sonics are terrific. A disc to savor.

– ClassicsToday (David Hurwitz) Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Piano no 1 in D major, Op. 17 by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Romain Descharmes (Piano)
Conductor:  Marc Soustrot
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Malmö Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1858; France 
2.
Concerto for Piano no 2 in G minor, Op. 22 by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Romain Descharmes (Piano)
Conductor:  Marc Soustrot
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Malmö Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; France 
3.
Allegro appassionato for Piano in C minor, Op. 70 by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Romain Descharmes (Piano)
Conductor:  Marc Soustrot
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Malmö Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; France 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Highly Underrated Composer April 11, 2017 By J. Joseph (New York, NY) See All My Reviews "I believe Saint-Saens is one of the most underrated composers and that his five piano concertos would make for a few interesting live concerts. Barring that buying a few CDs can be a great substitute. They are pleasant to listen to and you get to hear some different piano concertos. Even Beethoven, Mozart. Brahms need a rest sometimes. Arthur Rubinstein liked the Saint-Saens Second Piano Concerto so much that he played it. Give S-S a chance." Report Abuse
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