Saint-Saëns’ operatic works contain instrumental music of vivacity and charm but have been undeservedly overlooked. Ascanio contains a substantial and elaborate divertissement that fellow composer Reynaldo Hahn termed ‘the entire Renaissance in a few pages’. Les Barbares, a tale of conquest and revenge, includes a vivid Prologue and joyful ballet, while La Princesse jaune with its pentatonic writing, and La Jota aragonese laced with Spanish vitality, show the composer at his most generously carefree.
Jun Märkl is a highly-respected interpreter of core Germanic repertoire and has become known for his refined and idiomatic explorations of the French Impressionists. His long-standing relationships with the state operas of Vienna, Berlin and Munich, the Semperoper Dresden and the Metropolitan Opera have been complemented by his music directorships of the Orchestre National de Lyon and the MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra. Märkl has an extensive discography – among the over 50 albums he has recorded are the complete Schumann symphonies, works by Mendelssohn and Wagner, Ravel, Messiaen, and a highly-acclaimed Debussy set with the Orchestre National de Lyon. He is currently recording two cycles of works by Saint-Saëns and Hosokawa.
Founded in 1925, the Malmö Symphony Orchestra (MSO) is one of the leading major orchestras in Sweden. Performing the full breadth of the symphonic repertoire, the MSO collaborates with prominent international conductors and soloists. The MSO has won critical acclaim for its numerous recordings with leading record labels, including first prizes in competitions such as the Cannes Classical Award and the Diapason d’Or. The orchestra has made extensive efforts to record all of Camille Saint-Saëns’ orchestral works and continues to cultivate its growing reputation via international tours.