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Phillip Scott
Fanfare, March 2016

…the Malmö musicians are at their best when the pace gets moving…

…recommendable. The performances are thoughtful, the sound is warm and clear, and the unusual repertoire is well worth getting to know, especially at Naxos’s bargain price. © 2016 Fanfare Read complete review

Steven Kruger
Fanfare, January 2016

The orchestra is cozy and plummy; the sound is first-rate; and the Dance Macabre pleasantly rattles our bones. © 2015 Fanfare Read complete review

Don O’Connor
American Record Guide, January 2016

These are capable, solid performances of music that mostly demands nothing more. In Saint-Saens’s most Beethovenian symphony, Soustrot applies the necessary weight without bombast. The two tone poems are gracefully rendered. The sound is also good. If you’re looking for offbeat repertoire of value at a budget price, stop here. © 2016 American Record Guide

Robert Cummings
Classical Net, November 2015

The performance that Marc Soustrot draws from the Malmö Symphony Orchestra is splendid and fully committed in every way.

…Soustrot and company deliver truly spirited performances of both these pieces, and the solo violinist in Danse macabre, Marika Fältskogh, turns in fine work. © 2015 Classical Net Read complete review

Leslie Wright
MusicWeb International, November 2015

Marc Soustrot clearly understands the symphony and makes a convincing case for it. It is very well performed by the Malmö Symphony. © 2015 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Roger Nichols
BBC Music Magazine, November 2015

…honest performances that show off Saint-Saens’s mastery of the orchestra and, at least some of the time, an inventiveness that still impresses a century and a half-later. …contrasts come over clearly and the orchestral balance is always good. © 2015 BBC Music Magazine, October 2015

This CD is a worthy conclusion of Soustrot’s cycle of the Saint-Saëns symphonies and symphonic poems, and certainly worthwhile for anyone interested in forays into some of the composer’s large-scale but infrequently heard music. © 2015 Read complete review

Remy Franck
Pizzicato, September 2015

The performances are transparent, colourful, and dynamic, focusing nothing else than the music. © 2015 Pizzicato

Blair Sanderson, September 2015

With little coverage in the concert hall or on CD, [Urbs Roma] deserves a break-out recording, and Soustrot’s performance with the Malmö Symphony Orchestra may be the one to secure this symphony a place in the standard repertoire. © 2015 Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, September 2015

The third and final installment in a new cycle of the complete symphonies by Camille Saint-Saëns from the Malmö orchestra and their conductor, Marc Soustrot. Gifted as a pianist, organist and composer from an early age, he was twenty-one when he entered a composition competition held in Bordeaux in 1857, the entry being a symphony with the title, Urbs Roma. Seeming to have no relationship to the work’s content, it was probably a means of withholding the name of the composer, as the competition’s rules required. It was performed just twice, and then remained unpublished during his long life that came to a close in 1921. That fact rather historically misplaces a symphony that appeared shortly after the death of the young Schumann and Mendelssohn, while Dvořák had only just been born. Stylistically it therefore fits perfectly into its period, which most adverse commentators have chosen to forget, while the thematic invention lacked nothing in pleasing memorability. Its opening movement begins with admirable resolve, the second subject, an allegro, showing a Germanic influence. The scherzo that follows has Mendelssohn ever present as it bubbles with impish pleasure, though the slow movement is a little threadbare and a mite overlong, though it leads to an most engaging scherzo-like finale. In time scale it is a substantial score, shaped here by Soustrot with an intrinsic feel for a young Saint-Saëns flexing his symphonic muscles. From his maturity, La jeunesse d’Hercule (The Youth of Hercules) is a graphic picture of the struggle between good and evil, and contrasts with the popular, Danse Macabre, where the Halloween dance is led by Death. There are recorded performances of both that concentrate the nasty aspects of the stories, Soustrot offering a more balanced reading that remains true to the score. Excellent playing from the Malmö Symphony in a recorded sound of high quality. © 2015 David’s Review Corner

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