WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Saint-saëns: Carnival Of The Animals, Etc / Musique Oblique

Release Date: 11/14/2000 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi Musique D'abord Catalog #: 1951472   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musique Oblique
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

The curiosity here is the Duc de Guise music. Since Saint-Saens was born in 1835, before Tchaikovsky and Dvorak, we think of him as a nineteenth-century figure, yet here he was in 1908 writing a film score for a silent biopic made by one Henri Lavedan—"the earliest piece of film music in the history of the cinema", says the booklet essay. It falls into five tableaux lasting some 20 minutes and is well worth a listen as an example of how this resourceful and experienced composer created expressionistic mood and action music that still stands up on its own. The murder takes place in the fourth tableau, a surprisingly jaunty affair. As in the Carnaval des animaux it uses a biggish ensemble, but we are not told what instruments are Read more involved. Otherwise, the booklet is informative about this fascinating, faintly tragi-comic work.

It is also useful on the Piano Quintet, which belongs to the other end of Saint-Saens's life, having been written in 1855. The music tells us this at once, having some youthful grandiloquence along with plenty of burgeoning skill, not least as regards construction. It is melodious and distinctly attractive: indeed, the Andante sostenuto is lovely, and the scherzo could almost be by Mendelssohn. Both of these performances are sympathetic and skilful, earning this issue a warm welcome. It goes without saying that in this context the Carnaval des animaux comes over as the big chamber music that it is, rather than orchestrally as we sometimes hear it; these French artists play it with enormous zest and an idiomatic sense of fun. A refined recording is a further plus to this delightful disc.

-- Gramophone [3/1994]
Read less

Works on This Recording

Carnival of the animals by Camille Saint-Saëns
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musique Oblique
Written: 1886 
Quintet for Piano and Strings in A minor, Op. 14 by Camille Saint-Saëns
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musique Oblique
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1855; France 
L'assassinat du Duc de Guise, Op. 128 by Camille Saint-Saëns
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musique Oblique
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1908; France 

Sound Samples

Quintette avec piano, Op. 14:: I. Allegro moderato e maestoso
Quintette avec piano, Op. 14:: II. Andante sostenuto
Quintette avec piano, Op. 14:: III. Presto
Quintette avec piano, Op. 14:: IV. Allegro assai, ma tranquillo
L'Assassinat du duc de Guise, Op. 128:: Introduction - Premier tableau
L'Assassinat du duc de Guise, Op. 128:: Deuxième tableau
L'Assassinat du duc de Guise, Op. 128:: Troisième tableau
L'Assassinat du duc de Guise, Op. 128:: Quatrième tableau
L'Assassinat du duc de Guise, Op. 128:: Cinquième tableau
Le Carnaval des animaux: Introduction et marche royale du lion
Le Carnaval des animaux: Poules et coqs
Le Carnaval des animaux: Hémiones
Le Carnaval des animaux: Tortues
Le Carnaval des animaux: L'éléphant
Le Carnaval des animaux: Kangourous
Le Carnaval des animaux: Aquarium
Le Carnaval des animaux: Personnages à longues oreilles
Le Carnaval des animaux: Le coucou au fond des bois
Le Carnaval des animaux: Volière
Le Carnaval des animaux: Pianistes
Le Carnaval des animaux: Fossiles
Le Carnaval des animaux: Le cygne
Le Carnaval des animaux: Final

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Chamber Musicians Visit the Zoo April 15, 2012 By Henry S. (Springfield, VA) See All My Reviews "This is a very gentle disk, emphasizing Saint-Saens' delicate touch with coloration. The headline work is the Carnival of the Animals, which in my experience is more often presented in an orchestral version. Thus, it is nice to hear in a chamber music version. The quintet is excellent, although listeners expecting French 'Sturm und Drang' will be disappointed. This quintet is smooth, quiet, and calming- all in all a very fine example of French chamber music.
Nicely recorded, with an added bonus with its bargain price."
Report Abuse
Review This Title