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Saint-Saens: Organ Symphony; Poulenc: Organ Concerto

Saint-Saens: Organ Symphony; Poulenc: Organ Concerto

1 Jan 2006
3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Saint-Saens: Organ Symphony; Poulenc: Organ Concerto
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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 1 Jan. 2006
  • Release Date: 11 Sept. 2006
  • Label: Decca Music Group Ltd.
  • Copyright: ℗© 2006 Decca Music Group Limited
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 56:27
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001VSXRIC
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 128,043 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)
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Just wat my partner wanted, easy to download and no fuss, reasonable price and with one click idea all done with in minutes.
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I did not care for this particular CD, and I believe gave it to a Charity Shop.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars 12 reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intense Saint-Saens and Poulenc 16 May 2014
By Joseph Kline PhD, MD - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
In this Decca Originals disc, Charles Dutoit leads the Philharmonia Orchestra in a performance of Camille Saint-Saens' popular Organ Symphony with the world-class organist, Peter Hurford at the organ. Filling out the disc is Frances Poulenc's Organ Concerto.

Dutoit's reading is intense and dynamic, but he takes the fast movements at a pace that precludes savoring the writing. In the Presto, the orchestra can barely keep up with Dutoit. You can almost smell the smoke rising from the violins by the conclusion of the symphony. But even with the sometimes breathless tempo, Dutoit's reading is second only to that of Ormandy/Philadelphia/Murray on Telarc. The orchestra is recorded very well but there isn't nearly as much space surrounding the Philharmonia as in the Philadelphia setting. Plus, Ormandy's recording is now available as an SACD that is absolutely one of the finest SACD's that I have heard.

The Poulenc Organ Concerto is interesting but melodically pales by comparison to the Saint-Saens. Nevertheless, it is an interesting work and performed well - in fact, better than its discmate.

The intensity of Dutoit's interpretations of the Poulenc and Saint-Saens make the album recommended, but certainly second to Ormandy.

Addendum (7-4-15): I am adding this comparative analysis to all of my eight reviews of performances of the Organ Symphony. Please see my individual reviews for greater detail. I have provided conductor/orchestra/organist/label for each review capsule so you can find each recording more easily. The comments are, of course, my educated opinions only, so take them as you will. I have loved this symphony for 40 years and listened to many of the finest recordings. I’ve saved what I think is the best recording for the end, if you just want to cut to the chase. I hope you will find the comparisons helpful.

Badea/RPO/Murray/Telarc: This Telarc recording is an account of few new insights interpretively but no crippling errors of omission or commission, either. It is not, however, the most inspired of readings. What we end up with is one of the most exciting sound reproductions that I have heard. The performance is beautiful but less inspiring. Recommended for purposes of hearing what recorded sound SHOULD be.

Dutoit/Philharmonia/Hurford/Decca Originals: Dutoit's reading is intense and dynamic, but he takes the fast movements break-neck speed. You can almost smell the smoke rising from the violins by the conclusion of the symphony. Even so, Dutoit's reading is second only to that of Ormandy/Philadelphia/Murray on Telarc. Ormandy's recording is now available as an SACD that is absolutely one of the finest SACD's that I have heard. Recommended, but certainly second to Ormandy.

Munch/Boston SO/Zamkochian/RCA: This performance is the consensus favorite for the symphony. It is extraordinary in its depth and richness. It has an intensity heard best in the forte passages, and yet sounds rather relaxed during the softer ones. Performance-wise, I could live with this being my only recording and be exceptionally happy. Unfortunately, the sonics are another story. Softer passages sound dated even on SACD, and loud tutti sections are quite congested. Bottom Line: the Munch/BSO/ Zamkochian performance is second to none but the sonics preclude a slam-dunk for top pick. Highly recommended for the performance.

DeWaart/SanFrancisco SO/Guillou/Philips: This is a lush performance of the Organ Symphony with spot-on tempi, great orchestral balance, and unsurpassed balance between organ and orchestra. This symphony has one long melodic line after another, and DeWaart keeps a long view that prevents any sense of meandering. The organ is stunningly recorded. Brass blaze with glory. Strings are lush. Timpani are extremely well-defined. The clarity of the recording provides an excellent window into finer details. It is difficult to imagine how anything could have been improved upon. The disc is filled out with a strong performance of Widor's Allegro from his Symphony No. 6. This account of the Organ Symphony has everything going for it. There are no obvious weaknesses. If you have excellent subwoofers, they will get the workout of their life. Very Highly Recommended!

Nezel-Seguin/Montreal Metropolitan Orchestra/Belanger/ATMA: Nezel-Seguin's account of the Organ Symphony is surprisingly competitive in a crowded field. Tempi are reasonable, dynamics are excellent, organ-orchestral balance is very good, instrumental timbres are superb, and the CD provides for a deep soundstage. I am not particularly enamored with Belanger's choice of registration which caused the organ to be less prominent occasionally. My reservations aside, this was a very impressive performance by this relatively unknown group of musicians, but it is outclassed by Murray/Ormandy/Philadelphia. Still, the disc is so enjoyable, I would recommend it highly as an alternative to Murray/Ormandy and for the enjoyable pieces for solo organ.

Mata/Dallas SO/Guillou/Dorian: This one has its share of both positives and negatives. On one hand, Mata's tempi are rather conventional, the Dallas Symphony play superbly, and the recording is vivid and has great clarity. Unfortunately, the negatives are equally strong, beginning with the balance between organ and orchestra that shifts inexplicably from recessed in the coda of the 2nd movement to predominant in the preceding section. The choice of organ registration is poorly matched to the orchestra. In the finale of the 4th movement, the brass are excessively highlighted. The brass play gloriously, but the spotlight detracts from the music. This recording has enough negative attributes to preclude a strong recommendation.

Levine/Berlin PO/Preston/DG: This disc also includes Dukas' Sorcerer's Apprentice, and each receives stunning performances. The organ is rarely prominent in this particular recording until the last movement. Pity. Not until the 4th movement do we finally hear confirmation of an organ actually having a place at the table - and a big place it is until the final measures when the organ inexplicably recedes again into the background. The final movement is just glorious. The preceding three SHOULD have been as well. Despite the short-schrifted organ role in the Organ Symphony, this disc is highly recommended for the beautiful orchestral playing, the symphony's 4th movement.

Ormandy/Philadelphia SO/Murray/Telarc: No musical work should benefit more from an SACD recording than Saint-Saens Organ Symphony. Ormandy chooses a tempo for the first movement that is on the slow side. The second movement picks up the pace. The Adagio is sublime. I didn't realize the Philadelphia violins could sound that lush. And the organ could not sound more glorious! The sonics of this recording are demonstration class. The balance between organ and orchestra, like in Guillou/DeWaart, is perfect. The finale demonstrates every positive element within this stunning achievement. I don't believe a finer Organ Symphony has ever been recorded. Michael Murray fills out the remainder of the disc with French organ pieces. The organ and recording are both superb. If you love organ music, you won't want to leave the disc after just the Organ Symphony. The performance stands up well to Munch’s fabulous account but beats it hands down on sonics. This is probably the most impressive SACD disc I have heard. It should be in everyone's collection. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
5.0 out of 5 stars Lucky me. A human helped me place the order. 24 Aug. 2013
By loylivingston - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The performance is more than wonderful. I bought 2, one as a gift for
the person with whom I heard this music at the Seattle Symphony.
My only difficulty was in placing my order. Only a truly patient
person on the phone helped me finally make the purchase.
I didn't have a code word; when I made one up, it was
rejected. Twice. If I have an account now, I don't know my
pass code.
5.0 out of 5 stars A worthwhile upgrade 12 Jun. 2015
By LeRoi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I purchased this remastered cd to compare with an earlier cd with the same content and was pleased to hear the improved sound. A great performance too!
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 29 Sept. 2016
By JTDk - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
nice recording
5.0 out of 5 stars Great recording 13 Oct. 2015
By Pat - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
good recording. Organ comes through as well as the rest of the orchestra, balance is good.
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