This is the third and final volume in our new and critically acclaimed edition of Saint-Saëns’s complete symphonies, performed by the Malmö Symphony Orchestra under the direction of its principal conductor Marc Soustrot.
“I am very proud to perform and record the music of Camille Saint-Saëns. In France, we do not always give enough credit to our own composers, so this has been a dear project of mine. Balancing Romanticism and academia, Saint-Saëns again proves himself a master of writing the all-important string parts, while the virtuosic woodwind and brass contributions leave the listener bathed in an heroic ambiance. The challenge in this delicate music is finding the optimum balance between slow and fast tempi. It was a great week of rehearsing and recording with the Malmö Symphony Orchestra! Together, I believe we have found a Scandinavian quality in Saint-Saëns’ work, at the hands of a French conductor…”
Saint-Saëns’s Symphony in F major ‘Urbs Roma’ was his prizewinning entry to a competition organised by the Bordeaux Société Ste Cécile, but the work remained unpublished in the composer’s lifetime. This early work is notable for a masterly final movement which, unusually, comprises a theme and variations. The symphonic poem La Jeunesse d’Hercule is a portrayal of the conflict between pleasure and duty, while the Danse macabre is amongst his most popular orchestral works. The first two volumes of this complete edition of Saint-Saëns’s symphonies can be heard on Naxos 8.573138 and 8.573139.
Listen to an extract from
the 2nd movement of Symphony in F major “Urbs Roma”
About the Artists
Marc Soustrot is considered a specialist in French orchestral music. Formerly the principal conductor and artistic director of the Orchestre Philharmonique des Pays de la Loire, the Beethoven Orchester, Bonn, and Het Brabants Orkest, Eindhoven, he is principal conductor of the Malmö Symphony Orchestra and designated principal conductor of the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra. Marc Soustrot was honoured with the title Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur in 2008.
The Malmö Symphony Orchestra's Naxos recordings of music by the American composer Charles Ives received great acclaim and were named Editor’s Choice/Recording of the month by Gramophone. The orchestra's recordings of Franz Schmidt’s Symphonies and Grieg's Works for Orchestra have been similarly acknowledgedby the media. Marc Soustrot has been the orchestra’s principal conductor since the 2011/2012 season.
“Soustrot’s exciting and rhythmically sharp reading of Phaéton makes a welcome bonus. This is unquestionably one of the best recordings of the piece, with an especially effective thunderbolt as Zeus hurls the hapless chariot (of the sun) driver from his seat. Attractively natural sonics round out a very promising start to this new series.” – ClassicsToday.com
“With his conducting, Marc Soustrot creates a lot of electrifying energy, the excellent sound of the Malmö Symphony Orchestra having been perfectly captured by the sound crew. The second volume of the Saint-Saëns Edition from Malmö maintains what the first promised.” – Pizzicato ★★★★★
Listen to an extract from Symphony in A major:
IV Allegro molto - Presto
“Sinclair’s conducting gets everything right: tempos, textures, balances, and colors. The Malmö orchestra plays all of this music with complete confidence, and the sonics are unaffectedly crisp and clean. An essential release for Ives fans.” – ClassicsToday.com
“[The 3rd Symphony] here receives a performance of surely prize-winning vitality from Vassily
Sinaisky and his Swedish orchestra as part of their ongoing and consistently impressive cycle of Schmidt symphonies.” – BBC Music Magazine