1 800 222 6872

Saint-Saens: Symphonies, Vol. 1: Symphonies nos 1 & 2; Phaéton / Malmo SO, Soustrot

Album Summary

>Saint-Saëns, Camille : Symphony no 1 in E flat major, Op. 2
>Saint-Saëns, Camille : Symphony no 2 in A minor, Op. 55
>Saint-Saëns, Camille : Phaéton, symphonic poem in C major, Op. 39
Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

BBC Music Magazine, April 2015
The First Symphony's airy nature and the young composer's ear for instrumental colour are to the fore in this performance from the Malmo Symphony Orchestra under Marc Soustrot, the second movement's flute duet being especially finely poised.

The Guardian, 2nd April 2015
The performances from Marc Soustrot and the Malm÷ Symphony are strong and carefully considered, which admirably suits the symphonies, though PhaTton could do with more energy and bite.

Precocious as a child, Camille Saint-Saëns was once known as the French Mendelssohn. The remarkably assured First Symphony, completed at the age of 17, was praised by Berlioz and Gounod at its first performance. The elegantly crafted Second Symphony defies convention not least by basing the first movement on a fugue, while the symphonic poem Phaéton skillfully brings this Greek mythological drama to life with stampeding horses, thunderbolts and a moving apotheosis. This is Volume 1 of 3 devoted to the five Saint-Saëns Symphonies.

American Record Guide, July/August 2015
Soustrot and his Swedish orchestra present both works in fine light. The music has enough weight to give it importance. The winds sound fine and the strings are able to keep up in the finale of 2. The nine-minute symphonic poem Phaeton depicts the classical legend: Phaethon's ride through the sky, concluding with Jupiter's thunderbolt. The music is an exciting essay in orchestral writing (and anapestic rhythm!). Here too the Malm orchestra is convincing.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Malmö Concert Hall, Malmö, Sweden (08/19/2013-08/23/2013).



Reviews

Saint-Saens Symphonies One and Two
We remember Saint-Saens as the composer of three numbered and published symphonies, but he wrote five others; unnumbered ones include one from 1848c, three from 1850c, and one written in 1856 and subtitled "Urbs Roma" (The City of Rome). His spectacular, pompous, and showy Third, the so-called "Organ Symphony" of 1886 which was published as Op. 78 and includes two pianos and an organ, has become so popular that it has virtually shouldered aside two earlier ones from 1852 and 1859 that are known as No. 1 (Op. 2) and No. 2 (Op. 55). Both of these are well crafted and deserve better recognition. The First, composed when Saint-Saens was 17 years old, is constructed according to Classical-era principles; a sonata-form first movement with a slow introduction is followed by a Scherzo, an Adagio, and a fine finale with some unusual instrumentation. The Second, penned seven years later, is scored more modestly than the First but defied convention in other ways; for example the first movement is based on a fugue and the work ends with a Tarantella. Mendelssohn included a Tarantella in his "Italian" Symphony of 1833, but Saint-Saens was probably the first major French composer to do so.
This new CD from Naxos includes these two symphonies and also - as a bonus - Saint-Saens' Symphonic Poem of 1873 entitled "Phaeton," which tells the story of Phaeton (or Phaethon), who sought assurance from his mother that his father was Apollo (Helios) the sun god. She assured him and told him to ask Apollo for confirmation. He asked Apollo to affirm his relationship with the sun. Apollo promised him whatever he wanted, so he demanded to drive the sun chariot for a day, but he lost control of the horses. Zeus had to kill him with a thunderbolt to prevent the earth from being destroyed.
All three compositions receive excellent performances under Marc Soustrot, who conducts the Symphony Orchestra of Malmo (Sweden). Warmly recommended.
Ted Wilks
Submitted on 03/14/15 by Ted Wilks 
Auspicious Inauguration
For the longest time, the Jean Martinon/ORTF set of the 5 Saint-Saens symphonies (numbered and otherwise) has been the standard version of these works. Along the way, there have been several notable individual issues of these early works. For instance, several years back, Yan Pascal Tortelier and the Ulster Orchestra (Chandos) turned in a superb account of the Symphony No.2 coupled with an exciting reading of Symphony No.3. Now a new series has been unveiled. Maestro Soustrot leads the Malmo Symphony Orchestra of Sweden in stylish, nuanced performances of #1 and #2 augmented by the inclusion of the symphonic poem, Phaeton. Maestro Soustrot is able to coax an abundance of momentum and poetry from his musicians, thoroughly illuminating the most subtle, refined elements contained within these accomplished works. Throughout, the playing is cleanly articulated and taut. Phaeton could have benefited from some additional drive and sweep, notwithstanding its core quality. The sound, courtesy of producer/engineer/editor, Sean Lewis is everything one could hope for: wide ranging, dynamic and detailed. Excellent liner notes by the ubiquitous Keith Anderson. It will be fascinating to hear what these forces achieve in Vol. 2 and 3.
Submitted on 03/27/15 by Allen Cohen 
Login or Create an Account to write a review
 

Also Purchased

Works Details

>Saint-Saëns, Camille : Symphony no 1 in E flat major, Op. 2
  • Conductor: Marc Soustrot
  • Ensemble: Malmo Symphony Orchestra
  • Notes: Malmö Concert Hall, Malmö, Sweden (08/19/2013-08/23/2013)
  • Running Time: 33 min. 7 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1853

>Saint-Saëns, Camille : Symphony no 2 in A minor, Op. 55
  • Conductor: Marc Soustrot
  • Notes: Malmö Concert Hall, Malmö, Sweden (08/19/2013-08/23/2013)
  • Running Time: 22 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1859

>Saint-Saëns, Camille : Phaéton, symphonic poem in C major, Op. 39
  • Conductor: Marc Soustrot
  • Notes: Malmö Concert Hall, Malmö, Sweden (08/19/2013-08/23/2013)
  • Running Time: 9 min. 19 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1873