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Saint-Saëns: Piano Concertos no 2 & 5 / Thibaudet, Dutoit

Album Summary

>Saint-Saëns, Camille : Concerto for Piano no 5 in F major, Op. 103 "Egyptian"
>Franck, César : Symphonic Variations for Piano and Orchestra, M 46
>Saint-Saëns, Camille : Concerto for Piano no 2 in G minor, Op. 22
Performer Conductor Ensemble Composers

Notes & Reviews:

"...Indeed, [Thibaudet and Dutoit] get along together like oil and vinegar, joining and separating as best serves to accent the pungent flavors of these savory works. The vivacious tunes of Saint-Saëns' Second Concerto's Presto Finale have rarely sounded so light footed and high spirited, and the antique scales and exotic colors of his "Egyptian" Concerto's Presto Finale have never sounded so evocative and weirdly compelling. Nor has the blazing virtuosity of Franck's Variations symphoniques often been so brilliantly articulated as under Thibaudet's strong but supple hands. Old timers might look back fondly on Rubinstein's aging recordings of the Saint-Saëns, but while contemporary listeners will be impressed by the older performances, they are likely to be blown away by these. Decca's digital sound is crisp, clear and, as suits the music, vividly colorful." -All Music Guide

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
This scintillating disc finds Jean-Yves Thibaudet on notably effervescent form, revelling in Saint-Saëns's pianistic brio and intricacy. He makes a special case for the enchanting but still neglected Egyptian Concerto, commenced in Luxor, completed in Cairo and, according to the composer, reflecting 'the joy of a sea voyage'.

He brings a recognisably French clarity and verve to the music's foaming figuration and captures all of its audacity (an imitation of croaking Nile frogs in the central Andante and pumping boat engines in the riotous finale).

Hear his pin-point brilliance in the opening Allegro animato where the pianist weaves a sparkling thread round the orchestral outline, his fast-paced avoidance of sententiousness in the long-winded Andante and his rush of adrenalin in the split octave upsurge at the end of the concluding Molto allegro, and you are made conscious of a pianist whose virtuosity takes wing in exactly the way prescribed by the composer.

Much the same could be said of Thibaudet's performance of the Second Concerto, music which as one writer put it journeys from Bach to Offenbach. His ad libitum opening cadenza is complemented by flashing fingers elsewhere, and since there is inwardness as well as an irresistible élan and impetus in the Franck Variations, you could say that Thibaudet and France (or in Franck's case, Belgium) go together like a horse and carriage. Dutoit and the Suisse Romande are all of a piece with their high-flying soloist and Decca's balance and sound are exemplary.

The Independent
[On Thibaudet's playing of the Saint Saens Piano Concerto No.2] brilliant, heartless, Parisian, and Thibaudet rode it like a powerful horse, getting into a sure-footed rhythm, leaping every fence...



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Works Details

>Saint-Saëns, Camille : Concerto for Piano no 5 in F major, Op. 103 "Egyptian"
  • Performer: Jean-Yves Thibaudet (Piano)
  • Conductor: Charles Dutoit
  • Ensemble: Suisse Romande Orchestra
  • Notes: Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland (02/01/2007-02/03/2007)
  • Running Time: 27 min. 12 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1896

>Franck, César : Symphonic Variations for Piano and Orchestra, M 46
  • Performer: Jean-Yves Thibaudet (Piano)
  • Conductor: Charles Dutoit
  • Ensemble: Suisse Romande Orchestra
  • Notes: Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland (02/01/2007-02/03/2007)
  • Running Time: 15 min. 52 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1885

>Saint-Saëns, Camille : Concerto for Piano no 2 in G minor, Op. 22
  • Performer: Jean-Yves Thibaudet (Piano)
  • Conductor: Charles Dutoit
  • Ensemble: Suisse Romande Orchestra
  • Notes: Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland (02/01/2007-02/03/2007)
  • Running Time: 23 min. 17 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1868