Saint-Saens - Symphony no.3, Paray - Mass for the 500th Anniversary of the Death of Joan of Arc (APE)
Saint-Saens – Symphony no.3, Paray – Mass for the 500th Anniversary of the Death of Joan of Arc (APE)

Composer: Camille Saint-Saens, Paul Paray
Performer: Marcel Dupré, Frances Yeend, Frances Bible, David Lloyd, Yi-Kwei Sze, Rackham Symphony Choir
Orchestra: Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Paul Paray
Audio CD
Number of Discs: 1
Format: APE (image+cue)
Label: Mercury
Size: 337 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

01. Saint-Saëns: Symphony No.3 in C minor, Op.78 “Organ Symphony” – 1a. Adagio – Allegro moderato –
02. Saint-Saëns: Symphony No.3 in C minor, Op.78 “Organ Symphony” – 1b. Poco adagio
03. Saint-Saëns: Symphony No.3 in C minor, Op.78 “Organ Symphony” – 2a. Allegro moderato – Presto – Allegro moderato
04. Saint-Saëns: Symphony No.3 in C minor, Op.78 “Organ Symphony” – 2b. Maestoso – Più allegro – Molto allegro
05. Paray: Mass for the 500th Anniversary of the Death of Joan of Arc – 1. Kyrie
06. Paray: Mass for the 500th Anniversary of the Death of Joan of Arc – 2. Gloria
07. Paray: Mass for the 500th Anniversary of the Death of Joan of Arc – 3. Sanctus – Benedictus
08. Paray: Mass for the 500th Anniversary of the Death of Joan of Arc – 4. Agnus Dei
09. Paul Paray: Post-Sessions Thanks To The Performers

The Definitive SaintSaens

My only experience with this Detroit recording was in the early seventies listening to a Los Angeles classical FM station through headphones late at night. I was wowed, but was never able to find it on vinyl. Over the years, I amassed numerous recordings of the Organ Symphony both vinyl and CD, but there were always parts that fell short of my expectations. Until obtaining the Detroit/Paray version from arkivmusic, my reference recording was the supercharged Barenboim/CSO, albeit a tad rushed in places. Now, after repeated listening to the Paray recording, I know why I was so impressed with it so many decades ago. The orchestral playing is superb with great detail and precision, especially in the winds and strings, and the brass playing is tight, together and in tune. The organ entrances are staggering in the Maestoso, with a perfect blend of pedals, reeds, and upper registers. The entire recording is well balanced even revealing triangle parts, without being muddy on the low frequencies, or strident on the highs. It is truly remarkable how fine many recordings from the 50’s and 60’s sound today compared to DDD recording. The only sacrifice is a degree of tape noise.
I am unfamiliar with the Paray Mass on this disc so commentary may come later.

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