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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars music to restore a sense of balance and well-being, 9 Oct 2013
By 
schumann_bg - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Saint-Saens: La Muse Et Le Poete (Audio CD)
Renaud CapuÁon gives a muscular performance of Saint-SaŽns' Third Violin Concerto, with a marvellous opening paragraph punctuated by ear-catching woodwind chords. At same time he finds great delicacy in the slow movement, so blooming in its lyricism, or the chorale of the third. He never plays up anything flashy, for instance the rising arpeggio in the cadenza at the beginning of the 3rd movement is played down, although the rondo theme does have an electrifying tonal gleam, and the second subject melts, again with some memorable interplay with the woodwind. Near the end the brass sound very centred and noble against the keening violin that takes up the second part of the chorale at its second appearance. The performance has just the right ebullience with a sense of style that shows the composer in the best light. His brother Gautier matches this in the earlier Cello Concerto no. 1, which his poignant tone reveals to have deep songfulness even at a brisk basic tempo, while the best comes between the two: a totally involving performance of the rare La Muse et le poète. It's an unsung masterpiece that begins reflectively but builds to some moments of superb intensity via some harmonic changes of utter delight. Passionate outbursts with trills and high writing in double stops and octaves make for a thrilling last third. It's not so different from Brahms' Double Concerto in mood, with a certain cushioned richness in the tone, but only 16'36" in length. The orchestral sound has a certain space around it which gives the works an air of real mastery and a spiritual dimension as though they came from Beethoven's pen. Conductor Lionel Bringuier shapes this brilliantly. I'm not sure I like the cover too much; it strikes me as quirky and Saint-SaŽns surely deserves something less whimsical than this. A concert photo of the brothers together would have done much better.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Two favourites and a rarity, beautifully played, 22 Nov 2013
By 
Ralph Moore "Ralph operaphile" (Bishop's Stortford, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Saint-Saens: La Muse Et Le Poete (Audio CD)
Violinist Renaud CapuÁon and his cellist brother Gautier are joined here for an all Saint-SaŽns programme by the young French conductor Lionel Bringuier and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. They are all evidently all fine musicians and cannot be faulted in matters of taste and technique.

Many collectors will already own the two concertos here but are less likely to know the rarely heard piece which lends its title to this disc, the `Duet for Violin, Cello and Orchestra', La Muse et le Poète. Saint-SaŽns composed it while in Egypt; it is a sweetly plaintive, gently Romantic and sometimes even rhapsodic but not especially memorable work. At first, the two solo instruments call to and answer each other in figures built around falling fifths and octaves, accompanied by strumming harps and pizzicato strings; the violin seems to be coaxing the cello into more elaborate excursions upwards and perhaps as such acts as the Muse to the cello's Poet. There follows an impassioned middle section for the cello before first the violin, then the cello, muse reflectively until the music works itself up into an energetic finale.

The Violin Concerto, Saint-SaŽns' third, opens with an arresting, sweeping theme which is generously shaped by brother Renaud; the Andante sings and the faintly conventional but, as ever with Saint-SaŽns, well-crafted finale is taut and elegant. The main ideas in the Cello Concerto are once more derived from exploiting the interval of a fifth, first fast, then reflective; Gautier CapuÁon's warm tone and his deft, delicate bowing make the most of the old-fashioned minuet in the slow movement, then he broadens and intensifies his manner to encompass the demands of the big, bold finale.

My comparison for the two concertos was with the Sony compilation recording featuring soloists Yo-Yo Ma and Cho-Liang Lin; I found them both to be more febrile and individualistic than their CapuÁon counterparts who are typically Gallic in their refinement and of course served by better, more modern digital sound.

This is a fine disc neatly combining first class performances of two deservedly acclaimed concertos with a rarity.

[Review also posted on MusicWeb International.]
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brillint recording, 2 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Saint-Saens: La Muse Et Le Poete (Audio CD)
For all lovers of french classical music.
I happened to listen to this recording on Danish radio on my car radio, and immediately sensed that this recording was special. Special in music, special in performance and special in recording. All in all a brilliant disc. I just love it.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glorious French music performed to perfection!, 4 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Saint-Saens: La Muse Et Le Poete (Audio CD)
The Capucon brothers are wonderfully talented, as is the young conductor. This disc is a splendid momento of the performance of the cello concerto that Gautier and Mister Bringuier recently gave with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great music,great recordings, 21 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Saint-Saens: La Muse Et Le Poete (Audio CD)
The first two pieces are entirely new to me, so refreshing and ethereal. All of the items are impeccably played and recorded, so a big thanks to Amazon and their scrupulously helpful staff when I found it difficult to track down this CD. Incidentally, It might be helpful to highlight the item: the La Muse et Le Poete, rather than Saint Saens 3rd Violin Concerto when flagging this CD. It is afterall the producer's favoured introduction.
Warmest regards
Doctor Douglas Helm
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Saint-Saens: La Muse Et Le Poete
Saint-Saens: La Muse Et Le Poete by Lionel Bringuier/Renaud Capucon/Gautier Capucon/Orchestre Philharmonique De Radio France (Audio CD - 2013)
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