- Sonata for cello & piano No. 1 in C minor, Op. 32
- Sonata for cello & piano No. 2 in F major, Op. 123
- Prière, for violin (or cello) & organ, Op. 158
- The Swan (from "Carnival of the Animals"), original (for 2 pianos & ensemble) and arrangements
- Romance for horn (or cello) & orchestra (or piano) in F major, Op. 36
The cello is an instrument to which Camille Saint-Saëns turned many times throughout his compositional career, yet we most commonly hear only the "First Concerto" (performed by talented high school students and professionals alike) and all-too-frequently slipshod readings of "The Swan" from "Carnival of the Animals." Yet there was an abundance of other repertoire produced by the French master that, while perhaps not the most captivating writing for the cello, is certainly worthy of attention and interest. Cellist Christian Poltéra takes on the Saint-Saëns works for cello and piano alongside pianist Kathryn Stott on this Chandos album. Compared to Poltéra's previous releases of cello works by Swiss composers, Saint-Saëns may seem like a less noble undertaking, but Poltéra quickly dispels this notion. With a refreshingly powerful, driven, intense interpretation, Poltéra infuses the two sonatas with a level of life and vitality that they may not have seen in decades if not longer. He plays with a virtually flawless technique, a muscular yet controlled tone, and a musical understanding over the score that grips listeners from start to finish. Stott's playing is equally precise and appealing, with an incredibly nimble, clear touch and an impeccable sense of balance. Unfamiliar with these sonatas? Here's the place to start. Heard them once and weren't impressed? Try again with Poltéra and Stott and you're not likely to be disappointed.