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Saint-Saëns: Cello Concertos Nos. 1 and 2; The Carnival of the Animals; Africa; Wedding-cake / Truls Mork, cello; Louis Lortie, piano; Helene Mercier, piano

Album Summary

>Saint-Saëns, Camille : Concerto for Cello no 1 in A minor, Op. 33
>Saint-Saëns, Camille : Concerto for Cello no 2 in D minor, Op. 119
>Saint-Saëns, Camille : Carnival of the animals
>Saint-Saëns, Camille : Wedding Cake for Piano and String Orchestra in A flat major, Op. 76
>Saint-Saëns, Camille : Africa, Op. 89
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

The Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and Neeme Jšrvi present this unusual collection of popular works by Saint-SaŽns, for orchestra and piano or cello. Truls MÝrk, this season Artist in Residence with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, is the soloist in the two contrasted cello concertos. The indefatigable duo Louis Lortie and HťlŤne Mercier then join in the original version of the posthumously published Carnival of the Animals.

Gramophone Magazine, January 2016
This is one of those recordings where it seems invidious to look for faults and which just encourages you to sit back, relax, listen and wallow. Mįrk brings his characteristic incisiveness and mountain-spring tone to the concertos...The Grande fantaisie zoologique receives one of its most successful performances on disc (sans narrator) with just the right balance of instrumental virtuosity, sensitive musicianship and, where the opportunity presents itself, fun.

BBC Music Magazine, March 2016
[MÝrk's] noble command is ideal in the darkly blazing, virtuosic second concerto. One of our great lyric instrumentalists, he gives a deeply-felt, but never over-dramatised performance, a piercing tenderness underlying what can sound sentimental in the hands of a lesser artist. Bergen's beautifully-tuned winds create subtle intimacy in the idyllic Andante.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Grieghallen, Bergen, Norway (06/15/2015-06/18/2015).



Reviews

Fossils!
Saint-Saens composed 2 cello concertos. Both are in minor keys, consist of 3 delineated (or implied) movements and are roughly equivalent in duration. 30 years separate their publication. #1 is inspired; its enduring popularity, completely understandable. Just sample the 2nd movement to appreciate the breadth of this composerís vast creative reservoir. While the second concerto is not without considerable interest and is far more technically challenging for any player, it infrequently rises to the masterwork status of its predecessor. Itís sort of like comparing the 2 piano concertos of Mendelssohn. Lightning rarely strikes twice in the same place. Still itís valuable to have both works on the same disc especially when they are so eloquently and passionately rendered as they are here by the technically assured Truls Mork. The rich, robust accompaniment is every bit as important an ingredient. Nor is the subtle and not so subtle parody in Carnival of the Animals lost on Maestro Jarvi and his superb orchestra. The piece benefits significantly by their breezy, supple approach. While Saint-Saens did in fact specify a glass harmonica in 2 of the 14 numbers (Aquarium and Finale), utilizing the traditional glockenspiel would have been preferable to the less than ideal effect generated here by this instrumentís inclusion. That said, the swaggering Skitch Henderson/LSO version recorded by Decca nearly 60 years ago remains definitive. It can be found with or without Ogden Nashís droll verses as recited by Beatrice Lillie. Its stunning sonics have not dimmed one iota. This current disc concludes with 2 bravura crowd pleasers. Both Wedding Cake and Africa showcase the crystalline technique of Louis Lortie. Minor criticisms aside, this is a wonderful collection. Production values and sound engineering are representative of Chandos at its very best, most especially in the superb, high resolution, Super Audio incarnation.
Submitted on 04/22/16 by Allen Cohen 
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Works Details

>Saint-Saëns, Camille : Concerto for Cello no 1 in A minor, Op. 33
  • Performer: Truls Truls Mork (Cello)
  • Conductor: Neeme Järvi
  • Ensemble: Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Notes: 06/15/2015-06/18/2015
  • Running Time: 20 min. 16 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1872

>Saint-Saëns, Camille : Concerto for Cello no 2 in D minor, Op. 119
  • Performer: Truls Truls Mork (Cello)
  • Conductor: Neeme Järvi
  • Ensemble: Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Notes: 06/15/2015-06/18/2015
  • Running Time: 18 min. 9 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1902

>Saint-Saëns, Camille : Carnival of the animals
  • Performers: Louis Lortie (Piano); Alasdair Malloy (Percussion); Helene Mercier (Piano)
  • Conductor: Neeme Järvi
  • Ensemble: Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Notes: 06/15/2015-06/18/2015
  • Running Time: 19 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1886

>Saint-Saëns, Camille : Wedding Cake for Piano and String Orchestra in A flat major, Op. 76
  • Performer: Louis Lortie (Piano)
  • Conductor: Neeme Järvi
  • Ensemble: Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Notes: 06/15/2015-06/18/2015
  • Running Time: 5 min. 57 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1885

>Saint-Saëns, Camille : Africa, Op. 89
  • Performer: Louis Lortie (Piano)
  • Conductor: Neeme Järvi
  • Ensemble: Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Notes: 06/15/2015-06/18/2015
  • Running Time: 9 min. 58 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1891