Notes and Editorial Reviews
When Franz Liszt overheard Camille Saint-Saëns playing the organ at the Madeleine in Paris, he hailed the young Frenchman as the 'greatest organist in the world'. Saint-Saëns' talents did not end there: he was a gifted composer -- among his most famous works are The Carnival of the Animals and Danse Macabre -- and, naturally, the symphony in which he used his own virtuoso instrument would become his one of his best-loved works. This collection brings together his revered 'Organ' Symphony and the Symphony in F 'Urbs Roma'.
Saint-Saëns originally subtitled Symphony No.3 in C minor Op.87 (unusually arranged in just two movements) as simply avec orgue; the organ does not feature as a solo instrument, but its
presence alongside the orchestra adds an exciting dimension to the piece, especially in the lowest pedal notes and the delightful dialogues between the organ and strings. The addition of the arpeggios of the piano part (scored for four hands) provides a wonderful contrast to the organ's thunderous notes. The Symphony in F 'Urbs Roma' is the longest of Saint-Saëns' symphonic compositions, and remained unpublished during the composer's lifetime. The first movement brims with elegant strings, while the subsequent Molto vivace invokes a whirring dance. The third movement has been described as a 'funeral march for the death of an empire', after which the ensuing Poco allegretto -- Andante con moto brings the work to a tranquil end.
The works are performed by the Orchestre National de l'ORTF conducted by Jean Martinon, featuring acclaimed organist Bernard Gavoty.
- Recorded 1972--1975 at the Salle Wagram in Paris.
- Now available as a single issue on Brilliant Classics: Saint-Saëns ever popular "Organ" Symphony, the number 3, grand, majestic, and (being vintage Saint-Saëns) seriously tuneful. The melody of the last movement gained world fame as used in a pop song "if I had Words".
- Contains liner notes on the composer and artist biographies. Read less
Works on This Recording
Symphony in F major "Urbs Roma" by Camille Saint-Saëns
ORTF National Orchestra
Written: 1856; France
Be the first to review this title