One of the most naturally gifted of all composers, the young Camille Saint-Saëns completed the first of his five symphonies when he was just 15 years old.The result the delightful Symphony in A Major, composed in 1850 is a work so polished and accomplished that it is hard to imagine that greater maturity would have allowed Saint- Saëns to improve it.The Symphony in E flat, published as his Symphony No.1 and Op.2, followed three years later, a remarkable work in which it is plain to see that the composer had made huge strides. Both Berlioz and Gounod, who attended the premiere, were bowled over by the assured technique, colourful orchestration, memorable tunes and sense of poise. The Symphony in F a charming Schumannesque work, which won Saint-Saëns the first prize in a competition and the Symphony No.2 a wonderfully wrought composition, full of surprises followed in 1856 and 1859 respectively. However, the most popular of the five is undoubtedly the Symphony No.3, commonly known as the Organ Symphony. This radical work is constructed in two sections, using the Lisztian method of transforming themes. The huge orchestra, complete with piano four hands, is used to maximum effect, with the organs dramatic entry at the start of the final section a moment of thrilling musical drama. While the Organ Symphony has deservedly earned a place in the repertoire, Jean Martinons insightful and critically acclaimed recordings reveal the earlier symphonies as works of great appeal, worthy of far greater attention than they are normally afforded.