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  • Symphony 3/Danse Macabre/Carnival [CASSETTE]
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Symphony 3/Danse Macabre/Carnival [CASSETTE]

5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio Cassette (7 Jan. 1992)
  • Label: Sony Classics
  • ASIN: B0000027OK
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,131,966 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By J. S. Morgan on 25 Feb. 2006
Format: Audio CD
Whether you have just discovered the wonderful Organ Symphony or have loved it for ages, this is a recording not to be missed. Eugene Ormandy recorded this work with the Philadelphia Orchestra probably more times (at least four) than any other great conductor and is arguably one of its greatest exponents.
All of the recordings are superb but, although this one (Sony SBK 47655)was recorded back in 1962, I feel that it has the edge for several reasons: 1) You feel that the musicians are really enjoying themselves, such is the relish with which they all play; 2) the Aeolian-Skinner organ at the Philadelphia Academy of Music (where the work was recorded) must be one of the most magnificent-sounding organs in the world; 3) the organ playing of Edward Power Biggs has to be heard to be believed; 4) the other pieces on the CD, such as the Bacchanale from Samson and Delilah, Danse Macabre and Carnival of the Animals are also superb and come as a bonus; 5) it is simply amazing value for money.
It is also a great recording for the car, as it is divided into 24 tracks, which means that if you wanted to, you could listen the the sublime Maestoso and Allegro over and over again. (If I am in a bad mood or feeling fed-up, these two tracks always snap me out of it!)
For playing on your hi-fi at home, Ormandy's 1980 recording (Telarc CD80051) with Michael Murray on the organ of St Francis de Sales Church, Philadelphia, (reputed to be the world's largest and most powerful organ) takes a lot of beating for sheer power, although I find it somewhat lacking in comparison with the earlier recording, and you get only the symphony, in only two tracks, and it is a full-priced CD.
If you can't decide, go for the Sony disc - it's cheaper, you get much more and, in my view, better music for your money.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dr R TOP 500 REVIEWER on 23 Sept. 2014
Format: Audio CD
This very popular disc brings together a range of Saint-Saëns most popular works and, whilst many will purchase it for the excellent chamber version of the Carnival of the Animals, the other works – most notable the ‘Organ’ Symphony are performed with considerable energy and panache. The players in the Carnival have such energy and enthusiasm that one can ‘see’ their smiles as they play. The pianists and the other soloists blend beautifully and the excellent recording gives an impression of the audience’s joy on hearing it played for the first time.

The Symphony, and the other orchestral works, are played by the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy, 1899-1985, with E. Powers Biggs, 1906-77, as soloist on the Aeolian-Skinner Symphony Hall Organ. I have never been completely sure how much I am influenced by the latter’s name! He certainly lives up to it in this barn-storming performance. This combination of players made five recordings of the work.

Ormandy controls the orchestra in the lead up to the organ’s entry so that its opening chords sound more dramatic than ever, even when one knows what is coming. Once again, it makes one imagine what the effect must have been at the first performance. Overall, Ormandy and his excellent orchestra adopt a fast tempo and carry it off very convincingly. Perhaps the subtlety of Saint-Saëns orchestration is lost to the forward surge of the music but Ormandy, and then Powers Biggs, carry all before them. Overall the sound and balance are good.

The short orchestral pieces [Bacchanale from Samson and Delilah; Danse macabre and Marche militaire française from the Suite algérienne] might just have been fill ups but here they are given evocative performances here that make them much more than that.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bill Glen on 15 Feb. 2014
Format: Audio CD
ormandy's last digital recording of the organ symphony on telarc is sonically impressive yet this earlier version still holds up very well and was something of a welcome surprise in buying this disc which I bought to replace a favourite cassette of carnival of the animals. Hugely enjoyable as this organ symphony is, this is a beautifully performed and impressively recorded version of carnival played in a chamber version by several celebrated soloists. Look it out and you will be surprised. why this performance is not more widely known is baffling. Saint Saens was famously not keen on public performances of carnival but with such a pleasing performance it would be hard to believe that the composer himself would not break out into a smile.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By C. Marshall on 15 Jun. 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have to admit a a fondness for organ music. I have some great stuff by Bach played by Ton Koopman for instance. So how was Saint Saens symphonie No 3?

Amazing really. I suppose the famous bit the maestosto is the star piece of the CD but the rest is excelent too. Made to be played loud(why else have a piano and an organ in one work) it rattles the windows and drives away any negative feelings. This should be played to depressives as it is sure to make the sadest heart lift.

For those unfamilliar with the rest of the disc the irony of the carnival of animals is good fun too.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr John C Stewart on 31 Oct. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Bought the vinyl LP of Saint-Saens organ symphony from a charity shop and loved it. Bought this as the CD replacement. Very speedy and efficient service.
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