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This review is from: Neeme Jarvi Conducts Saint Saens [Chandos: CHSA 5104] (Audio CD)
This beautiful CD just fits next on the shelf to the symphonies(5), the piano concertos(5), the violin concertos(3), the cello concertos(2), the opera Samson and Delilah, and the Requiem, and the chamber music.
How great is Saint-Saens! With this Super Audio Compact Disc, it is worth exploring the settings on your player. I tried it out variously on different players. As to this music, 'Spartacus' was rediscovered in the 1990s. Originally it won a music competition for a grand overture. It certainly is that and reminds me of Berlioz overtures. Saint-Saens listening ear spans Algeria, England, Portugal, the Middle East and Japan. The Japonism movement inspired him to write a comic operetta entitled 'La Princesse Jaune'. It's overture is a delight. The Middle East is represented by augmented seconds in the Bacchanale from the Final Act from 'Samson and Delilah'. There is a world of pace and excitement in this performance from a lively Scottish National Orchestra in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Very different is the peace and tranquility of A Night in Lisbon. The jingoism of French colonial forces is captured in Marche militaire francaise from Suite Algerienne - great opportunities for the brass! For me the highlight of this superb set of recordings is the four Symphonic Poems. I like the smooth femininity depicted with Omphale and her spinning wheel. In 'Phaeton' there is the smash of Zeus' thunderbolt and the timpanists are inspired. The leader of the orchestra - Maya Iwabuchi gives a spine chilling performance alongside the bone rattling xylophone playing in the 'Danse macabre'. The 'Youth of Hercules' is overwhelming in its splendid SACD sound. Finally, I also liked the glory- filled music,even the bells, that Saint-Saens composed for the Coronation of Edward VIIth. Perhaps it could do with another outing - maybe for a Charles, a William or a George... maybe