One of the most grown-up review sites around


2019
51,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

TROUBADISC

colourful imaginative harmony
Renate Eggebrecht violin


Leticia Gómez-Tagle
Chopin, Liszt, Scarlatti


Bax Piano Music


Guillaume LEKEU


Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website



Acte Prealable returns
with New Releases


Superior performance


Shostakovich 6&7 Nelsons
Notable


Verdi Requiem Thielemann


Marianna Henriksson
An outstanding recital


Arnold Bax
Be converted


this terrific disc


John Buckley
one of my major discoveries


François-Xavier Roth
A game-changing Mahler 3

........................................

Bryden Thomson


Symphonies


Vaughan Williams Concertos


RVW Orchestral

 


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921)
Piano Concerto No.1 in D, Op.17 [27:03]
Piano Concerto No.2 in G minor, Op.22 [24:34]
Allegro Appassionato in C sharp minor, Op.70 [6:45]
Romain Descharmes (piano)
MalmŲ Symphony Orchestra/Marc Soustrot
rec. MalmŲ Concert Hall, Sweden, 8-9 June 2015
NAXOS 8.573476 [58:22]

Since 2013 Marc Soustrot and the MalmŲ Symphony Orchestra have been recording all of Saint-SaŽns’s orchestral music for Naxos. They have now reached the piano concertos. They enter a well populated field, but one which can certainly withstand another intelligently sympathetic reading. This new recording of the first two Concertos is most certainly that. Set against the Hough/CBSO/Oramo/Hyperion set of all five concertos released in 2001, Romain Descharmes does not have the compelling insight of Stephen Hough, the MalmŲ orchestra lacks the finesse of their Birmingham counterparts, Soustrot does not have quite such a subtle touch as Sakari Oramo, and the Naxos recording is a little less vivid. This is none-the-less a very creditable release for anyone seeking a recording which presents the music in a genuinely faithful and unpretentious manner. Perhaps the recording places the piano a bit too far forward and the orchestral basses in the slow movement of the first concerto are really too thunderously jazzy to convey any sense of the “exquisite gloom” promised in the booklet notes, but in all other respects this is a thoroughly enjoyable release.

From the antiphonal horn calls of the opening to the glittering, almost Tchaikovskian flashiness of the final movement, the First Concerto has a freshness and vigour about it. Glittering piano figurations show Descharmes to be fully in command of the music’s virtuoso writing, and Soustrot supports him with a tremendously full-blooded orchestral support which never holds back for a moment. Indeed, at times the orchestral support becomes not so much obtrusive as weighty, giving the music a sense of deep, fundamental strength.

This is something which pays dividends in the dramatic, quasi-Bach gestures which open the Second Concerto. The grand opening is beautifully poised and Descharmes manages the transition into the gentle main theme superbly. The entry of the orchestra after the piano has stated this theme is possibly a touch heavy-handed, as are Soustrot’s very pronounced hairpin dynamics as the music moves on to the lovely second theme, but the magical way in which he allows the music to ebb and flow does much to reveal the glorious logic and craftsmanship of Saint-SaŽns’ writing. In the second movement Descharmes does not offer up the same nimble-fingered bubbliness as Hough, but Soustrot places the orchestral detail immaculately so that we can enjoy not so much pianistic glitter as piano and orchestra in a balanced dialogue; which is probably just what Saint-SaŽns was aiming for. With the weighty orchestral tone and the hefty recorded sound, the final tarantella has an impact which is more stormy than fiery, and none the worse for that. It certainly does not want for excitement, and after Descharmes’ eloquent trills across the keyboard, the performance works itself up to ta truly grand climax.

The disc also gives one of several short pieces Saint-SaŽns wrote for piano and orchestra; the Allegro appassionato of 1884. This is very much a tour-de-force for piano, switching across passages of brisk filigree work and reflective pathos with only occasional interjections from the orchestra. Descharmes’ fleet-fingered approach makes light work of the rapid passagework, and he is quick to draw into himself for the more introspective moments. This is an intelligent and satisfying performance of music which wears its heart on its sleeve and fills its six minutes with such fertile material one feels it is more like ideas for a longer work than something intended to stand on its own.

Marc Rochester

Previous review: Dan Morgan (Recording of the Month)

 

 



We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger