- Carnival of the Animals, zoological fantasy for 2 pianos & ensemble
- Symphony No. 3 in C minor ("Organ"), Op. 78
This wonderful album contains perhaps Saint-Saëns' two most popular works: the "Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op. 78 (Organ Symphony)," which is really a piano symphony as well, and the "Zoological Fantasy" for two pianos and ensemble "Carnival of the Animals," which has no opus number because Saint-Saëns suppressed the work. He feared that it would damage his reputation as a serious composer. Such a loss for his French contemporaries! The work is full of high spirits, and the transitions between the depictions of the animals, far from being frivolous or simple, have an absolutely original rigor. There is undeniable fun in hearing conductor Antonio Pappano and piano superstar Martha Argerich take on the "Pianists" section, which depicts a pair of amateurs, and Pappano is a more than solid interpreter of the "Symphony No. 3," which wears a neoclassic disguise, but has a delicacy and sensuousness in its quieter passages that reveal the composer as closer to Debussy than either one would probably have wanted to admit. The resurgent Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia sounds fabulously delicate in the symphony's quieter passages. Other major stars include the members of Warner Classical's engineering team, who deliver awesome clarity in the live recording of the "Symphony No. 3" and sharp detail in the "Carnival of the Animals" in two different spaces at the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome. Thoroughly a pleasure, all the way through.
|Label:||Wb / Parlophone|