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SAINT-SAËNS, C.: Symphony No. 3, "Organ" / Danse Macabre / Cypres et Lauriers (Warnier, Lyon National Orchestra, Slatkin)


Naxos 8.573331

   new-classics.co.uk, September 2016
   Gramophone, December 2015
   The Buffalo News, June 2015
   The Organ Club Journal, June 2015
   Gramophone, May 2015
   American Record Guide, May 2015
   MusicWeb International, April 2015
   Classical Net, April 2015
   Diapason, March 2015
   Classica, March 2015
   The WholeNote, February 2015
   Cinemusical, February 2015
   Infodad.com, January 2015
   The Guardian, January 2015
   AllMusic.com, January 2015
   ClassicsToday.com, January 2015
   Mail on Sunday, January 2015
   David's Review Corner, January 2015

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new-classics.co.uk, September 2016

SAINT-SAËNS, C.: Symphony No. 3, "Organ" / Danse Macabre / Cypres et Lauriers (Warnier, Lyon National Orchestra, Slatkin) 8.573331
SAINT-SAËNS, C.: Symphony No. 3, "Organ" / Danse Macabre / Cypres et Lauriers (Warnier, Lyon National Orchestra, Slatkin) (Blu-Ray Audio) NBD0045

The Orchestre National de Lyon and their organist-in-residence, Vincent Warnier, present two major works for organ and orchestra by Saint-Saëns, both of which are historically linked with the great Cavaillé-Coll organs. Saint-Saëns’ inclusion of organ and piano in his Third Symphony was unprecedented at the time, and is a spectacular example of music both resplendent and grandiose. It was driven, in the composer’s words, ‘by the progress made in modern instrumentation’. Inspired by Liszt, to whose memory the work is dedicated, the symphony is conducted here by Leonard Slatkin, together with his Danse macabre and the rare and poignant Cyprès et Lauriers, which exemplifies the composer’s melodic charm and refinement. © 2016 new-classics.co.uk




Marc Rochester
Gramophone, December 2015

…by its very under-statedness as well as the engineers’ easy integration of the Lyon organ, played by Vincent Warnier, and Orchestre National de Lyon, it oozes supreme sensitivity and stylistic sincerity. © 2015 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone





The Organ Club Journal, June 2015

Excellent! © 2015 The Organ Club Journal



Marc Rochester
Gramophone, May 2015

…this is the Saint‑Saëns Third Symphony recording par excellence. © 2015 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



Donald R. Vroon
American Record Guide, May 2015

Slatkin’s take on the symphony is pretty middle-of-the-road in a good sense—no interpretive shenanigans or empty gestures for effect, just plenty of Saint-Saëns’s melodic richness.

…this disc shows the very best side of his talents. © 2015 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Leslie Wright
MusicWeb International, April 2015

Slatkin and the Orchestre National de Lyon give of their best to the lighter aspects of the piece (Symphony) with very clear instrumental detail, especially apparent in the scherzo section of the second movement. There is much delicious woodwind detail present and the piano ripples come through well in this movement. Yet, when the organ enters, it makes a magnificent sound and leaves little to be desired as the work comes to its mighty close. The balance throughout is exemplary, without the organ overpowering the orchestra. © 2015 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Brian Wigman
Classical Net, April 2015

…if you love the organ, this disc is required listening.

…the music-making here is excellent…and a win for Slatkin and Lyon. © 2015 Classical Net Read complete review




Jacques Bonnaure
Diapason, March 2015

In the two orchestral works, we appreciate once more the accomplishments of Leonard Slatkin in Lyon the strings and woodwinds are magnificent from beginning to end, and the horns are marvelous in Laurels. © 2015 Diapason




Jacques Bonnaure
Classica, March 2015

This pinnacle of Saint-Saëns’ works and of all French symphonic music, sounds marvelous if the conductor knows how to lighten the palate and clarify the lines, by avoiding any emphasis without neglecting the grandeur, by turns austere and triumphant. Leonard Slatkin…accomplishes all this…perfectly constructing the progression with dynamism and fluidity …This new version, an intelligent realisation, easily goes to the top. © 2015 Classica



Roger Knox
The WholeNote, February 2015

Organist Vincent Warnier and conductor Leonard Slatkin give a colourful reading, creating a coherent whole from diversity.

Warnier is sensitive to the composer’s late exploratory chromaticism in the solo organ lament Cyprès, and appropriately celebratory in Lauriers for organ and orchestra. © 2015 The WholeNote Read complete review




Steven A. Kennedy
Cinemusical, February 2015

Saint-Saens’ Organ Symphony has commonly been one of those Hi-Fi work out works that allows audiophiles a chance to blast out their systems. It does require a careful blend of engineering, as any organ recording will, to help balance things well while also creating a realistic image of what is heard in the concert hall. This has been achieved wonderfully in the present recording. At first, Slatkin’s performance seems almost breezy once the “Allegro moderato” begins, but one slowly begins to realize that this is due to excellent detail to accents and stresses in the music itself. This is not a performance that will feel like a schmaltzy romantic survey of a standard work. The second movement feels so much like a Beethoven symphony with the way the accents are handled that it helps place this piece better historically. The crisp woodwind playing is exhilarating as is the great detail in the string attacks. This makes the “Presto” section quite exciting. The ritard towards the end may be a bit too much brake, but the finale still works rather well.

The recording is quite stunning and may certainly move into the top 10 of current recordings of this work. Of course, the primary reason for picking this CD up will be to hear the marvelous Cavaillé-Coll and fans will not be disappointed. © 2015 Cinemusical Read complete review



Infodad.com, January 2015

The fine organ work by Vincent Warnier fits the overall mood of the symphony well, ringing forth when called for and remaining in the background as part of the ensemble elsewhere. In all, this is a highly effective performance of a symphony that is quite different from the composer’s other four and that also differs significantly from most symphonic works of its time. © 2015 Infodad.com Read complete review




Tim Ashley
The Guardian, January 2015

Slatkin’s interpretation of the “Organ” Symphony is measured and focused… © 2015 The Guardian Read complete review




Blair Sanderson
AllMusic.com, January 2015

…the organ’s rich tone colors give the symphony much of its appeal, and the recording by Radio France captures its majestic presence with full volume. © 2015 Allmusic.com Read complete review




David Hurwitz
ClassicsToday.com, January 2015

Slatkin has…whipped the orchestra into shape and they deliver a very enjoyable performance.

The interplay between the orchestra and the organ is a constant source of delight…Altogether this is a very pleasing and worthwhile release… © 2015 ClassicsToday.com Read complete review




Mail on Sunday, January 2015

Vincent Warnier plays brilliantly throughout. © 2015 The Mail on Sunday



David Denton
David's Review Corner, January 2015

To celebrate the installation of the recently reconstructed 1878 Cavaillé-Coll organ in the Lyon Auditorium, we have his fine recording of music by Saint-Saëns. The booklet relates the life of the enormous instrument and its new 2013 home in Lyon, the picture appearing on the sleeve giving some idea of its physical size. Opening with Edwin Lemare’s organ transcription of the orchestral work, Danse macabre, the soloist, Vincent Warnier, obviously enjoys putting the instrument through its paces, creating a whole spectrum of colours and effects. Cypres et Lauriers, a seldom heard score, starts out as an organ solo, to be joined later by the orchestra in Lauriers where the composer celebrated the allied victory in the First World War. Then to his Third Symphony, today’s most popular concert work for the instrument, the creamy second movement providing an oasis amidst the hyperactive music that surrounds it. I remember many years ago comparing all the available recorded versions, though since then there has been a veritable flood of new versions, many using that highly dubious practice of taping the organ in a totally different place, and then mixing the two recordings electronically. Most have opted for a phony impact that would awaken the dead as it drowns out the orchestra, the timpanist usually on the losing side. Thankfully Radio France engineers have avoided that pitfall offering a natural balance, with the organ and orchestra suitably complementing one another in the joyous finale. The Lyon musicians are on fine form for their conductor, Leonard Slatkin, the woodwind solos of outstanding quality. If you have the equipment take a superb Bluray surround-sound version that really does take you into the hall (NBD0045). © 2015 David’s Review Corner





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