“Saint-Saëns’ music is full of elegance, where virtuosity always has a purpose. The precision of the musical discourse is remarkable and there's a genuine relationship between the orchestra and the piano. This is sometimes found in the orchestral textures, sometimes in the hands of the virtuoso soloist, and at times it's deeply lyrical and touching. This repertoire requires a committed input from the interpreter, with thorough research on tempi, colours, articulations and phrasing. These transform this music into a jewel, a reflection of French finesse and expressiveness.”
The sheer attractiveness of Saint-Saëns’s music has ensured its immortality in the canon of French romantic composers. Spanning almost four decades, his five piano concertos vary widely in character but offer some of his most exciting if unorthodox creations, and represent an important evolutionary phase in the French piano concerto. The Piano Concerto No. 1 in D major, widely considered the first by a major French composer, is a youthful and exuberant piece, and the virtuosic Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor is one of Saint-Saëns’s most popular and frequently performed works in any genre.
Listen to an extract from Piano Concerto No. 1
III. Allegro con fuoco
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about this release
About the Artists
Since his début with the Orchestre de Paris in May 2012, Romain Descharmes has established himself as one of the foremost French pianists of his generation. Winner of the Dublin Competition in 2006, he has appeared in concerts in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Italy, France, Japan, China and elsewhere. He has collaborated with numerous distinguished conductors, including Paavo Järvi, Ingo Metzmacher, Marc Soustrot and Leonard Slatkin.
Marc Soustrot is considered a specialist in the field of 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 chief conductor of the Malmö Symphony Orchestra and the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra. He was awarded the title Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur in 2008.
The Malmö Symphony Orchestra boasts a number of recordings that have gained international accolades, including first prize at the Cannes Classical Award and the annual Diapason d’Or Awards. Releases on Naxos of music by the American composer Charles Ives met with great acclaim, as were their Naxos recordings of Franz Schmidt’s Symphonies with former principal conductor Vassily Sinaisky.
Saint-Saëns Symphony Cycle by Marc Soustrot and the Malmö Symphony