Saint-Saëns: Symphony No. 3, The Carnival of the Animals

Saint-Saëns: Symphony No. 3, The Carnival of the Animals

by Louis Frémaux

CD

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Overview

Saint-Saëns: Symphony No. 3, The Carnival of the Animals

As far as greatest-hits compilations go, this 2007 reissue from EMI of Camille Saint-Saëns' best-known works is really hard to beat. Considering that complete performances of the popular "Carnival of the Animals" and the "Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Organ," are presented, along with the orchestral tone poem "Danse macabre," the "Allegro appassionato for cello and orchestra," and the "Bacchanale" from the opera "Samson and Delilah," listeners are getting quite a bargain for all the colorful music this single CD contains. They can be thankful that the performances from the 1970s by Louis Frémaux and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and Georges Prêtre's 1963 recording of the "Bacchanale" with the Paris Opéra Orchestra, are first rate in interpretation and execution, if not necessarily in reproduction. These analog recordings are somewhat variable in sound and suffer a little from the sterility of early digital remastering; yet the music is remarkably clear and focused, due for the most part to Frémaux's attentiveness to details and ability to draw tight and vivid performances from this orchestra. The soloists -- violinist Felix Kok in "Danse macabre," pianists John Ogdon and Brenda Lucas in "Carnival," cellist Paul Tortelier in the "Allegro appassionato," and organist Christopher Robinson in the symphony -- are all exceptionally skilled and generally well-placed in relation to their orchestral accompaniment; only Tortelier is at a minor disadvantage in the fairly distant recording of his performance. Yet while one may wish that the sound of this album were better overall, it is a small tradeoff for the remarkably good performances and satisfying program. Anyone just beginning to explore Saint-Saëns' most popular works will be hard pressed to find a more generous selection at the budget price.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/20/2007
Label: Warner Classics
UPC: 0094638223320
catalogNumber: 8223

Tracks

  1. Danse macabre, symphonic poem in G minor, Op. 40  - Camille Saint-Saëns  -  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra  - Felix Kok  - R. Mervilus
  2. Carnival of the Animals, zoological fantasy for 2 pianos & ensemble  - Camille Saint-Saëns  - John Ogdon  -  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra  - Brenda Lucas  - Anthony Moroney  - Hilary Robinson  - R. Mervilus
  3. Allegro appassionato, for cello & piano (or orchestra) in B minor, Op. 43  - Camille Saint-Saëns  - Paul Tortelier  -  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra  - R. Mervilus
  4. Symphony No. 3 in C minor ("Organ"), Op. 78  - Camille Saint-Saëns  -  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra  - Christopher Robinson  - R. Mervilus
  5. Samson et Dalila, opera in 3 acts, Op. 47: Bacchanale  - Camille Saint-Saëns  -  Paris National Opera Orchestra  - Georges Prêtre  - R. Mervilus

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