Critique of Saint-Saëns: Skillfully performed by the Malmö Symphony Orchestra


Naxos celebrated the centenary of the death of Saint-Saëns with a reissue of his Integral Symphonies, performed by the Malmö Symphony Orchestra










Saint-Saëns: Complete symphonies Naxos, out now

Evaluation:

This year marks the centenary of the death of French composer, organist and pianist Camille Saint-Saëns.

Naxos marked him with a reissue of his Integral Symphonies, masterfully performed by the Malmö Symphony Orchestra under the direction of their principal conductor, Marc Soustrot.

This box is a snip around £ 15 for over 200 minutes of music. There are not only the five symphonies, but also the four symphonic poems, of which the Danse Macabre is one of his most beloved pieces.

Naxos celebrated the centenary of the death of Saint-Saëns with a reissue of his Integral Symphonies, performed by the Malmö Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Marc Soustrot (above)

Naxos celebrated the centenary of the death of Saint-Saëns with a reissue of his Integral Symphonies, performed by the Malmö Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Marc Soustrot (above)

The first four symphonies, including two unnumbered, were produced in their teens and early twenties. His only mature symphony 30 years later, the Third, for organ and orchestra, is undoubtedly one of the most accomplished and deservedly popular romantic symphonies.

Saint-Saëns was also an outstanding organist, and the organ is brilliantly integrated into the orchestra. The finale, with a lot of energy and verve, is perhaps the most famous thing he has written.

I prefer the beautiful slow movement, dominated by a totally memorable tune. The Marche-Scherzo at n ° 1 is also unforgettable.

Saint-Saëns lived to age 86, his precocious radicalism being replaced by a musical conservatism that his younger contemporaries found embarrassing. So when Debussy learned that Saint-Saëns was still composing during World War I, he replied: “Can’t they find something more useful for him to do?”

This kind of cynicism undoubtedly had a negative impact on Saint-Saëns’ reputation, and easily explains why this centenary did not become a great event.

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