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Saint-Saëns: The Complete works for piano & orchestra

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - EJ Johnson
Stephen Hough is up to his old tricks again. The pianist has an uncanny knack for unearthing underserved repertoire and making it sound absolutely essential, and this two-disc set of Saint-Sa?ns' complete music for piano and orchestra is no exception. Saint-Sa?ns tends to be regarded as a second-rank composer nowadays, and certainly by the time of his death in 1921 he had long been eclipsed by those in the stylistic vanguard -- Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky, et al. No one seems to have told Hough, though. He plays everything here with complete dedication, without a hint of the rote mechanical playing that lesser players might resort to, and in the process he makes a strong ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - EJ Johnson
Stephen Hough is up to his old tricks again. The pianist has an uncanny knack for unearthing underserved repertoire and making it sound absolutely essential, and this two-disc set of Saint-Saëns' complete music for piano and orchestra is no exception. Saint-Saëns tends to be regarded as a second-rank composer nowadays, and certainly by the time of his death in 1921 he had long been eclipsed by those in the stylistic vanguard -- Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky, et al. No one seems to have told Hough, though. He plays everything here with complete dedication, without a hint of the rote mechanical playing that lesser players might resort to, and in the process he makes a strong case for the revival of these works. Saint-Saëns wrote five piano concertos -- the First dates to 1858, when the composer was just 23, and the last was written in 1895 -- although only the Second is regularly performed today. He also composed four brief, one-movement showpieces for piano and orchestra, each of which is duly included here as well. Certainly, they vary in quality, and none is particularly profound, but Hough's fleet-fingered, light touch brings them to sparkling life and reveals their considerable charm; indeed, there is a balletic grace to Hough's playing that seems right on the mark. The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, which was groomed to world-class status by its former director, Simon Rattle, plays superbly for Sakari Oramo, the conductor. Hough has made more than two dozen recordings, all praiseworthy and several prizewinning he also won a MacArthur "genius" grant in 2001, and this remarkable set shows once again that Hough goes from strength to strength.
All Music Guide - Zoran Minderovic
This two-disc set of the complete works for piano and orchestra is a splendid introduction to a significant aspect of the composer's oeuvre. Including the five piano concertos, the set enables the listener to trace the composer's development in this genre, from the quintessentially Romantic "Concerto No. 1" through the many intriguing idiosyncrasies and structural metamorphoses of the subsequent concertos, to the seductively atmospheric "Concerto No. 5" "Egyptian" and admirable synthesis of exuberant energy, uninhibited expressiveness, elegantly stylized exoticism, and effervescent virtuosity. With his faultless technique, artistic sophistication, and graceful yet powerful pianism, soloist Stephen Hough is the perfect interpreter of these concertos, masterfully following the composer's trajectory from the relatively unproblematic Romanticism of the earlier concertos to the subjectivity and refined esotericism of the later works. In addition to purely technical challenges, which reflect the composer's stupendous mastery of the keyboard, Saint-Saëns' concertos require extraordinary attention to subtle shifts of color and tonal quality. In other words, if "brilliance" is a fundamental quality of this music, it is up to the pianist to differentiate between the numerous shades of brilliance in accordance with the composer's quicksilver imagination and swift flow of ideas. And Hough finds superb accompaniment in the precise and richly expressive playing of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Sakari Oramo. The set also includes four shorter works: the delicately charming "Wedding Cake Valse-Caprice," Op. 76, the nostalgic and thoughtful "Rapsodie d'Auvergne," the brilliantly lyrical Allegro appassionato, and the opulently exotic fantasy "Africa." In this vast, luminous, vibrant panorama of the great French composer's oeuvre for piano and orchestra, listeners will find exceptional guides in Stephen Hough and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
Gramophone - Stephen Plaistow
[2002 Record of the Year] [Stephen Hough's] set is well recorded and presented, and conductor and orchestra are with him in a proper collaboration.... He conveys what makes these pieces tick: fine workmanship, fantasy, colour, and the various ways Saint-Saëns was so good at combining piano and orchestra.

[2002 Record of the Year] [Stephen Hough's] set is well recorded and presented, and conductor and orchestra are with him in a proper collaboration.... He conveys what makes these pieces tick: fine workmanship, fantasy, colour, and the various ways Saint-Saëns was so good at combining piano and orchestra.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/9/2001
  • Label: Hyperion Uk
  • UPC: 034571173313
  • Catalog Number: 67331/3
  • Sales rank: 14,441

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1–3 Piano Concerto No. 1 in D major, Op. 17 - Stephen Hough & Camille Saint-Saëns (26:02)
  2. 4–6 Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22 - Stephen Hough & Camille Saint-Saëns (21:40)
  3. 7–9 Piano Concerto No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 29 - Stephen Hough & Camille Saint-Saëns (25:48)
  4. 8 Wedding Cake, caprice-valse for piano & strings in A flat major, Op. 76 - Stephen Hough & Camille Saint-Saëns (5:58)
Disc 2
  1. 1–2 Piano Concerto No. 4 in C minor, Op. 44 - Stephen Hough & Camille Saint-Saëns (24:42)
  2. 3–5 Piano Concerto No. 5 ("Egyptian"), in F major, Op. 103 - Stephen Hough & Camille Saint-Saëns (27:07)
  3. 4 Rapsodie d'Auvergne, for piano & orchestra in C major, Op. 73 - Stephen Hough & Camille Saint-Saëns (9:02)
  4. 5 Allegro appassionato, for piano (also with orchestra ad lib) in C sharp minor, Op. 70 - Stephen Hough & Camille Saint-Saëns (5:11)
  5. 6 Africa, fantaisie for piano & orchestra in G minor, Op. 89 - Stephen Hough & Camille Saint-Saëns (9:47)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Stephen Hough Primary Artist
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