Saint-Saëns: The Complete works for piano & orchestra

Saint-Saëns: The Complete works for piano & orchestra

by Stephen Hough

CD

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Overview

Saint-Saëns: The Complete works for piano & orchestra

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.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/09/2001
Label: Hyperion Uk
UPC: 0034571173313
catalogNumber: 67331/3

Tracks

  1. Piano Concerto No. 1 in D major, Op. 17
  2. Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22
  3. Piano Concerto No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 29
  4. Wedding Cake, caprice-valse for piano & strings in A flat major, Op. 76
  5. Piano Concerto No. 4 in C minor, Op. 44
  6. Piano Concerto No. 5 ("Egyptian"), in F major, Op. 103
  7. Rapsodie d'Auvergne, for piano & orchestra in C major, Op. 73
  8. Allegro appassionato, for piano (also with orchestra ad lib) in C sharp minor, Op. 70
  9. Africa, fantaisie for piano & orchestra in G minor, Op. 89

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