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Saint-Saens: Piano Concertos 4 & 5 / Descharmes, Soustrot, Malmo Symphony


Release Date: 04/13/2018 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8573478  
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

Romain Descharmes concludes his generally impressive cycle of Saint-Saëns piano concertos with this coupling of the formerly popular Fourth, and the increasingly popular Fifth. His performance of the Fourth, the composer’s most original work in the medium, is impressive. It’s a difficult work to pace; there’s a lot of slow music, and the thematic material is expressively pretty neutral. If the work is “about” anything, it’s a study in thematic metamorphosis and chromatic counterpoint versus diatonic harmony.

Descharmes and conductor Marc Soustrot understand the music well. The opening variations are nicely contrasted, the ensuing Andante attractive in its flow. The long finale effectively integrates the ongoing return of
Read more the main themes, with Descharmes weaving into and out of the instrumental textures smartly and sensitively. It’s an interpretation that consistently holds your attention, and rewards your patience.

The “Egyptian” Concerto isn’t quite as good. The outer movements are fine, especially the rollicking finale, but the long central movement could be more effectively shaped, its “orientalisms” indulged just that more characterfully. Still, as in the Fourth, the performance reveals a lot of meaningful detail, especially in the finale, and Descharmes isn’t afraid to take a step back and let other instrumental colors take center stage once in a while. Ultimately this complete set of the five piano concertos stands among the best out there, even if everyone will have favorite individual performances. This is an achievement of which everyone can be proud.

– ClassicsToday (David Hurwitz) Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Piano no 5 in F major, Op. 103 "Egyptian" by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Romain Descharmes (Piano)
Conductor:  Marc Soustrot
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Malmö Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; France 
2.
Concerto for Piano no 4 in C minor, Op. 44 by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Romain Descharmes (Piano)
Conductor:  Marc Soustrot
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Malmö Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1875; France 

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