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Saint-Saens Piano Concertos
on 2 March 2013
This is a wonderful 2-cd Decca set with all of Saint-Saens' piano concertos beautifully played by Pascal Roge. Saint-Saens was a well-known virtuous on the keyboard, and played piano and organ as well as composing for all instrumental types. I remember hearing a story years ago that he played his scales every morning on the piano religiously, and did so while reading the paper at the same time! Good way to practice scales, for sure. His Symphony Number 3, the Organ Symphony, which incorporates organ and keyboards, is one of the most wonderful and amazingly powerful pieces of music ever written, in my opinion.
However, back to the piano concertos. A particularly good feature of this 2-cd set is that we get all of the piano concertos in one package, and all brilliantly interpreted and played by Pascal Roge. The second piano concerto is probably the most well-known today of Saint-Saens' piano concertos, but I think all five of the concertos are wonderful, and certainly well worth having in your music library. They are all, as is all of Saint-Saens' writing, lyrical, melodic, virtuosic but approachable, beautiful music which sings on in your head long after the playing has stopped.
Pascal Roge is an acknowledged master of interpretation and playing of French composers, and has a wide repertoire, including Saint-Saens, Faure, Ravel, Satie and Poulenc. So getting these works played by him, together with the Philhamonia Orchestra (no.s 1 and 4), Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (no.2 and 5), and London Philharmonic Orchestra (no. 3), all under Charles Dutoit, is a real bonus. Totally recommended recording and well worth getting hold of.