- Carnival of the Animals, zoological fantasy for 2 pianos & ensemble
- Fantaisie for violin & harp in A major, Op. 124
- Romance for horn (or cello) & orchestra (or piano) in F major, Op. 36
- Prière, for violin (or cello) & organ, Op. 158
- Samson et Dalila, opera in 3 acts, Op. 47: Mon coeur s'ouvre à ta voix
- Septet for piano, trumpet, string quartet & bass in E flat major, Op. 65
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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.