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Here are a French violinist, a French conductor and a Finnish orchestra, playing quintessential late Romantic concertos from a grand old man of French music. It all gels admirably, in clear Naxos sound, in a 2009 recording from Hankasalmi church in the orchestra`s hometown of Jyvaskyla. (Naxos certainly get around.)
The main draw, apart from the composer`s increasingly sure-footed artistry, is the incandescent playing of Fanny Clamagirand, all of 25 when she recorded this disc.
Her control is astonishing, and she sounds as if she emotionally identifies with this often ecstatic music of her homeland, while playing with great muscular energy and lack of self-indulgence.
The three concertos are presented in an odd order: #2, which the excellent booklet notes tell us was composed first, is here placed third; #1, composed second, is placed second, while #3 is the first to be heard. (Got that?) It`s instructive to occasionally play them in order of composition, where one can hear Saint-Saens` growing confidence as his orchestration breaks free from an almost Beethovenian stodginess in parts of the 30-minute "2nd" concerto, to come to fruition in the brief 13-minute "1st"; nothing against Beethoven, by the way.
The third concerto is a magnificent work, again lasting half an hour, which begins with a gloriously themed Allegro non troppo, which contains many adagio interludes and chances for the violin to take wing in some of the composer`s most unashamedly
emotive, expressive music.
Violinist and conductor give this irresistible music their all. The disc is worth buying for this last of the three concertos alone.
The music of Saint-Saens is sometimes damned with faint praise, but the more I hear of it, the more I am an admirer. May I recommend also his piano concertos: the second is justly famous, but the remarkable, highly-perfumed fifth -the "Egyptian" -awaits a wider audience. Brigitte Engerer`s recording of these two is impeccable. The opera Samson et Dalila is a luscious delight, too. Try the Domingo/Meier/Chung recording.
Meanwhile, this is a terrific disc.
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on 28 December 2011
Pretty good recording with soloist well positioned against the full sound of the orchestra, balanced and able to hold the centre stage in both quiet and loud passages. This is full blooded late romantic fare and shows what a gift Sain-Saens had for orchestal colours.

Nos 1 and 2 are not as famous as No 3 but nevertheless all are gems in their own right and deserve to be more often played. The orchestral playing is clear and each of the instrumental passages highlighting soloist parts are well projected to accompany the main violin solo part and add to the sense of occasion. Orchestra and solist hold sway in turn and I can imagine it was a fun CD to record for all the musicians.

At around 70 minutes this recording offers excellent value.
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on 5 March 2011
It seems strange that when Saint Saens was such a prolific composer of richly romantic and approachable music should be so little played today. Are we embarrassed by unashamed beauty?

Suffice it to say that these charming works ate very sweetly played by the young French violinist, Fanny Clamagirand. Not often can one enjoy so much pleasure for so little outlay. Nicely recorded too.
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on 19 July 2012
Fanny Clamagirand was a new name to me - and what an impression she has made with this superb recording! I am fast becoming a devotee of Saint-Saens' work, and a disc like this makes me wish that I had got to know more of his music years ago. All three concertos are splendid works, with No.3 often being heard on Classic FM (a note for the purists: don't let that put you off!), and they are given wonderfully committed performances on this disc - any enthusiastic collector of violin works should have this CD, which is a bargain. I trust much more will be heard of both soloist and orchestra in the future. Warmly recommended.
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on 27 December 2012
I just bought this and have to add my comments about this amazing violinist, Fanny Clamagirand. Such beautiful playing with perfect, sweet intonation. Another wonderful disc from dear old Naxos who are doing so much to bring real music to life. A brilliant programme, sparkling orchestra - nothing at all to criticise here. Now let's have more from Fanny Clamagirand!
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on 31 May 2014
I had recently discovered this concerto - hearing it played live. The other two are just as inspiring and I was pleased to have them on a quality disc
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on 3 January 2015
Very happy with purchase , this recording far exceeds my expectations, I think that it is superb.
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on 20 July 2015
very pleased with the purchase
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on 17 February 2016
Beautiful violin playing.
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on 1 January 2013
A wonderful performance of works which I not heard before and I am absulutel delighted with them. A geat discovery.
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