Saint-Saëns: Carnival of the Animals, Septet, Fantasy, etc.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Andrew Farach-Colton
Camille Saint-Saëns's Carnival of the Animals has been relegated to the category of children's music, which is fine, as it's a charming and engaging piece for young people even without Ogden Nash's wacky poetic descriptions. It is, however, a work whose invention and wit deserve to be taken seriously -- and that's just what this star-studded ensemble does on this creatively illustrated disc. Where appropriate, the musicians make the most of Saint-Saëns's descriptive verisimilitude as in the overtly humorous depictions of "Chickens and Roosters" or "Donkeys", though it is the exquisite lucidity of the swirling textures in "Aquarium" or the balletic clatter of ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Andrew Farach-Colton
Camille Saint-Saëns's Carnival of the Animals has been relegated to the category of children's music, which is fine, as it's a charming and engaging piece for young people even without Ogden Nash's wacky poetic descriptions. It is, however, a work whose invention and wit deserve to be taken seriously -- and that's just what this star-studded ensemble does on this creatively illustrated disc. Where appropriate, the musicians make the most of Saint-Saëns's descriptive verisimilitude as in the overtly humorous depictions of "Chickens and Roosters" or "Donkeys", though it is the exquisite lucidity of the swirling textures in "Aquarium" or the balletic clatter of "Fossils" that impresses most. Even "The Swan," perhaps the most famous of the composer's works, floats with exceptional grace as played by cellist Gautier Capuçon. Another revelation is the Septet, a perky, Neo-Classical piece written for an unusual instrumental lineup piano, trumpet, string quartet, and bass. With a light touch, the ensemble shapes the dances elegantly, yet without neglecting the music's darker colors, as in the intimate, third-movement Intermède . The other selections -- all smaller-scale salon pieces -- are sweetly done, too. Harpist Marie-Pierre Langlamet and violinist Renaud Capuçon dance so gracefully through the Fantasie in A Major that its 12 minutes seem to fly by. An ideal introduction to Saint-Saëns's undervalued art.
All Music Guide - Blair Sanderson
In this vibrant 2003 recording, the chamber version of Saint-Saëns' "Carnival of the Animals" and five other works are energetically performed by some of the most gifted artists on Virgin's roster. "Carnival"'s numerous solos make it suitable as a showcase, and bassist Janne Saksala, flutist Emmanuel Pahud, clarinetist Paul Meyer, and percussionist Florent Jodelet have opportunities to shine. Yet pianists Frank Braley and Michel Dalberto dominate the proceedings, and their playing is consistently fine. Gautier Capuçon's cello solo in "The Swan" is highly expressive, though he is heard to better advantage in the "Romance" and the "Prière." While most listeners will be attracted to this disc for the featured work, two interesting pieces should not be overlooked. The sweetly lyrical "Fantaisie" is exquisitely performed by violinist Renaud Capuçon and harpist Marie-Pierre Langlamet. The "Septet" is the most unusual offering for its inclusion of a trumpet in an otherwise conventional ensemble of piano and strings. Yet this piece works rather well as light entertainment, and David Guerrier's trumpet part is both exuberant and subtle. Great color and a living presence make this recording thoroughly enjoyable, despite the few instances of scrappy playing.
Gramophone - Roger Nichols
[January 2004 CD of the Month] On this disc, not only are the difficulties [of Le Carnaval des Animaux] overcome, they are dispatched with tremendous verve and wit.

[January 2004 CD of the Month] On this disc, not only are the difficulties [of Le Carnaval des Animaux] overcome, they are dispatched with tremendous verve and wit.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/13/2004
  • Label: Erato
  • UPC: 724354560323
  • Catalog Number: 45603
  • Sales rank: 225,160

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1–14 Carnival of the Animals, zoological fantasy for 2 pianos & ensemble - Camille Saint-Saëns & Frank Braley (22:21)
  2. 2 Fantaisie for violin & harp in A major, Op. 124 - Camille Saint-Saëns & Frank Braley (12:53)
  3. 3 Romance for horn (or cello) & orchestra (or piano) in F major, Op. 36 - Camille Saint-Saëns & Frank Braley (3:20)
  4. 4 Prière, for violin (or cello) & organ, Op. 158 - Camille Saint-Saëns & Frank Braley (5:14)
  5. 5 Samson et Dalila, opera in 3 acts, Op. 47: Mon coeur s'ouvre à ta voix - Camille Saint-Saëns & Frank Braley (2:55)
  6. 19–22 Septet for piano, trumpet, string quartet & bass in E flat major, Op. 65 - Camille Saint-Saëns & Frank Braley (16:04)
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