Composer: Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer: Yo-Yo Ma, Cecile Licad, Cho-Liang Lin
Orchestra: Orchestre National de France, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra
Conductor: Lorin Maazel, Andre Previn, Michael Tilson Thomas
Number of Discs: 1
Format: FLAC (image+cue)
Size: 297 MB
01. Concerto No. 1 For Cello And Orchestra, Op. 33: Allegro non troppo
02. Concerto No. 1 For Cello And Orchestra, Op. 33: Allegretto con moto
03. Concerto No. 1 For Cello And Orchestra, Op. 33: Tempo I: Allegro non troppo
04. Concerto No. 2 For Piano And Orchestra, Op. 22: I – Andante sostenuto
05. Concerto No. 2 For Piano And Orchestra, Op. 22: II – Allegro scherzando
06. Concerto No. 2 For Piano And Orchestra, Op. 22: III – Presto
07. Concerto No. 3 For Violin And Orchestra,Op. 61: I – Allegro non troppo
08. Concerto No. 3 For Violin And Orchestra,Op. 61: II – Andantino quasi allegretto
09. Concerto No. 3 For Violin And Orchestra,Op. 61: III – Molto moderato e maestoso
One of the best
If you’re a classical music phobe or you haven’t gotten
to know Saint-Saens’ stuff, this is the disc for you.
If you’re already a classical musician, this one should be in your library. It features the three most popular concertos of Saint-Saens, with three internationally-renowned artists – Cecile Licad, Yo Yo Ma, and Jimmy (Cho-Liang) Lin. Licad offers what is arguably the finest recording of
the Piano Concerto #2 (the most-performed and best-known of the five Saint Saens piano concerti). Full of vigor and boisterosity
in the allegro passages and tenderness in the largo passages,
I’d be crazy to try to find a better interpretation of it.
Lin, at his usual bravura best, suavely executes the popular Violin Concerto #3. Incidentally, if you’re looking for consistently great recordings of a classical fiddler, look no further. Listen to Lin’s recordings. He’s never made a bad one and they shine like polished ebony. Yo-Yo Ma always gives a great reading, and the warhorse Cello Concerto #1 is no exception. I first heard this disc in 1990 when I was about 14 years old, and I’ve never stopped listening to it. I’m glad it hasn’t gone out of print – and I hope it never does.
Three favorite Saint-Saens concertos beautifully performed
Camille Saint-Saens was a childhood prodigy and prolific composer who was also a poet, playwright, and had broad scientific interests. Musically, he resembled Mendelssohn in many ways, and to a lesser extent Liszt. This CD contains three of his best known concertos, cobbled together from earlier CD releases as part of the CBS Masterworks series. These performances were originally recorded in 1980-83.
Saint-Saens considered himself to be a classicist, but all three of these concertos depart from the classical concerto format of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. The opening movements are more like tone poems, with dramatic gestures that showcase bravura performances. Both the First Cello Concerto and the Third Violin Concerto refer back to opening movement themes in their finales. Second movements are light-hearted allegrettos rather than the usual slow movement. One won’t find profundity in these concertos, but the music is colorful and beautifully wrought.
The Concerto No. 1 in A-Minor for Cello is performed by the reliable Yo-Yo Ma with the Orchestre National de France under Lorin Maazel. In this concerto, all three movements are played without a break. Ma’s playing is faultless, and Maazel ably keeps the music moving by choosing a lively tempo.
The Piano Concerto No. 2 in G-Minor, is the star performance on this disk, in my opinion. The pianist is Cecile Licad, and she makes the most of this dramatic music, especially the opening cadenza-like introduction. The second movement scherzando is elfin music, and the finale is a furious tarantella with a quieter interlude. Licad handles this technically difficult music with apparent ease. I didn’t know what a splendid pianist she is until I heard this recording. The London Philharmonic under Andre Previn do their part well.
The Violin Concerto No. 3 in B-Minor is performed by violinist Cho-Liang Lin and the Philharmonia Orchestra under Michael Tilson Thomas. Again, virtuosity is on display in this challenging piece, and Lin is up to the task. The orchestra is especially splendid in the concluding hymn-like chorale.
It’s not clear whether or not there has been additional remastering of these recordings, but the sound quality is excellent and well-balanced between soloist and orchestra in all three performances. There’s very little that one could find fault with here, so I can recommend this CD highly for these fine performances of favorite Saint-Saens concertos.
The rather brief liner notes gives a summary of each concerto but not a word about the soloists. Ma is well known, but I had to look up information about Licad and Lin on the internet.