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Saint-saens: Violin Sonata No 1; Berceuse; Triptyque / Clamagirand, Cohen


Release Date: 04/30/2013 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8572750   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Fanny ClamagirandVanya Cohen
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 8 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



SAINT-SAËNS Violin Sonata in d. Berceuse, Op. 38. Elégies: No. 1 in D, Op. 143; No. 2 in F, Op. 160. Sarabande et Rigaudon, Op. 93. Romance in D?, Op. 37. L’air de la pendule triptyque, Op. 136 Fanny Clamagirand (vn); Vanya Cohen Read more (pn) NAXOS 8.572750 (68:01)


This CD turned out to be more than a pleasant surprise; it turned out to be a sheer delight. I wasn’t sure what to expect from two relatively young and relatively unknown (on record, at least) artists in Saint-Saëns’s frequently essayed Violin Sonata in D Minor, but the performance by Fanny Clamagirand and Vanya Cohen proved positively persuasive and more than competitive with some of the very best, among which I would count my first recording of the piece with Heifetz and Emanuel Bay on a 1950 RCA LP, along with more recent versions by Gil Shaham and Gerhard Oppitz on Deutsche Grammophon, and the very impressive young violinist Jack Liebeck with Katya Apekisheva on Quartz.


Clamagirand (b. 1984), a past graduate student of Jean-Jacques Kantorow at the Paris Conservatory, sports a robust tone that projects with a good deal of authority, yet is of an alluring sweetness. Saint-Saëns’s D-Minor Sonata, the first and by far more popular of two he wrote, can invite some coarseness in tone in a number of its rough-and-tumble passages, but Clamagirand will have none of it. She cuts through the slashing first-movement chords without slashing them, and she springs sprightly through the ricochet-like spiccato bowing in the Allegretto moderato . Vanya Cohen, born in 1980 in Monaco of Russian parents, leaves no doubt in her confident delivery of the piano part that Saint-Saëns’s swirling and whirling score is as much piano sonata as it is violin sonata. This is as brilliant and thoroughly convincing a performance of the piece as I know.


The most enchanting aspect of this album, however, is the short, salon-like pieces that fill out the disc to a generous 68 minutes. All in all, not counting the two sonatas, Saint-Saëns composed no more than six opus numbers originally scored for violin and piano, and on the present disc we have all but one of them, the Caprice brilliant in B Minor of 1859. In its place, Clamagirande and Cohen give us the Romance, op. 37, originally for flute and piano, but published with an alternate version for violin. And for extra measure, they also give us the Sarabande et Rigaudon , op. 93, originally a work for orchestra.


It would be inaccurate to say that these pieces are entirely absent from the catalog, but according to current listings, they’ve received scant attention on disc; and that’s really a shame, for there’s not one of them that’s not a real charmer. This is a most enjoyable program, and it’s one performed to the highest standards by two exceptionally talented artists. Very strongly recommended.


FANFARE: Jerry Dubins
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Works on This Recording

1. Tryptique, Op. 136 by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Fanny Clamagirand (Violin), Vanya Cohen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1912; France 
2. Sonata for Violin and Piano no 1 in D minor, Op. 75 by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Fanny Clamagirand (Violin), Vanya Cohen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885; France 
3. L'air de la pendule by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Fanny Clamagirand (Violin), Vanya Cohen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1918; France 
4. Elegie for Violin and Piano, Op. 160 by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Fanny Clamagirand (Violin), Vanya Cohen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1920; France 
5. Elegie for Violin and Piano, Op. 143 by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Fanny Clamagirand (Violin), Vanya Cohen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1915; France 
6. Berceuse for Violin and Piano in B flat major, Op. 38 by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Fanny Clamagirand (Violin), Vanya Cohen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; France 
7. Sarabande et Rigaudon, Op. 93 by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Fanny Clamagirand (Violin), Vanya Cohen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; France 
8. Romance for Flute and Orchestra in D flat major, Op. 37 by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Fanny Clamagirand (Violin), Vanya Cohen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; France 

Sound Samples

Violin Sonata No. 1 in D minor, Op. 75: I. Allegro agitato -
Violin Sonata No. 1 in D minor, Op. 75: I. Adagio
Violin Sonata No. 1 in D minor, Op. 75: II. Allegretto moderato -
Violin Sonata No. 1 in D minor, Op. 75: II. Allegro molto
Berceuse in B flat major, Op. 38
Elegie in F major, Op. 160
Elegie in D major, Op. 143
Sarabande et rigaudon, Op. 93 (version for violin and piano): Sarabande
Sarabande et rigaudon, Op. 93 (version for violin and piano): Rigaudon
Romance in D flat major, Op. 37 (version for violin and piano)
L'air de la pendule in A minor
Triptyque in D major, Op. 136: I. Premice
Triptyque in D major, Op. 136: II. Vision Congolaise
Triptyque in D major, Op. 136: III. Joyeusete

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Superb Music, Fine Performance March 7, 2014 By Henry S. (Springfield, VA) See All My Reviews "French composer Camille Saint-Saens appears to have been completely incapable of writing substandard quality music. His major orchestral works have certainly found permanent places in the repertoire, as we all know. Beyond the orchestra, his magnificent chamber works are considered shining stars in the very high quality world of French chamber music. To these substantial genres can be added instrumental recital music, which I suppose many consider a sub-category of chamber music. This excellent Naxos recording demonstrates just how much of master Saint-Saens really was with recital programs. Specifically, violinist Fanny Clamagirand and pianist Vanya Cohen deliver wonderful performances of several truly lovely works for violin and piano. The major work here is the D Minor Violin Sonata # 1, a difficult yet intensely satisfying piece of music. After several sort pieces of great lyricism, the disk concludes on a brilliant, joyous note with Saint-Saens' energetic Triptyque, a mature composition from late in the composer's career. I cannot overstate how impressive this recording is- Saint-Saens' magic compositional touch, the excellence of the French artists, and Naxos' generally high quality audio engineering (I did feel that at several places in the program, the violin seemed a bit distant, perhaps due to microphone placement). This type of program can really grow on you, even if you are a staunch fan of heavy orchestral music or complex, multi-instrument chamber ensembles. Try it and see what I mean; this is small scale chamber music (or recital music if you prefer) at its very best. Strongly recommended." Report Abuse
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