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Jordi Caturla González
Ritmo, September 2019

This third volume of the Saint-Saëns Piano Concertos by Descharmes and Soustrot concludes an excellent series, recommended without reservation. Marc Soustrot, at the head of the Malmö Symphony, surprises us again with a refined, detailed sound, well studied in its different levels. …The Concerto n. 4 in his hands sounds triumphant, powerful and exciting, without neglecting the lyricism in the andantes. The rapport with Romain Descharmes on the piano is absolute, and the matching games with the orchestra are delicious. The French pianist never slips into sentimentality or empty virtuosity.

Descharmes elevates the beautiful melodies [Egyptian] to the heavens, while Soustrot breaks down the score leaving nothing on the table. …superb finale leaves us with an unbeatable experience. © 2019 Ritmo

Alex Baran
The WholeNote, November 2018

The artistic partnership between pianist and orchestra is superb. It makes its greatest impact in the Concerto No.5 “Egyptian” where Saint-Saëns uses exotic orchestrations and musical ideas to create his Egyptian mystique.

This recording is excellent on all counts. © 2018 The WholeNote Read complete review

Robert Cummings
MusicWeb International, October 2018

Marc Soustrot and the Malmö Symphony Orchestra provide excellent support throughout both works and Naxos delivers vivid, well balanced sound reproduction. If Saint-Saëns’s piano concertos are of interest to you, then you certainly will not be disappointed by these fine performances. © 2018 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Jerry Dubins
Fanfare, September 2018

He [Descharmes] delivers the solo parts of both concertos with virtuosic panache in the glitzy passages that call for it, and with dignified nobility in those grand processional moments. The Malmö orchestra under Soustrot knows exactly when to yield to let Descharmes steal the show, and “then sings all the congregation with voices uplifted and faces radiant in the stained-glass splendor of a Bach chorale.” © 2018 Fanfare Read complete review

David Hurwitz, June 2018

Descharmes and conductor Marc Soustrot understand the music well. The opening variations are nicely contrasted, the ensuing Andante attractive in its flow. The long finale effectively integrates the ongoing return of the main themes, with Descharmes weaving into and out of the instrumental textures smartly and sensitively. It’s an interpretation that consistently holds your attention, and rewards your patience. © 2018 Read complete review

Jeremy Nicholas
Gramophone, June 2018

…Romain Descharmes and his genial conductor take a more relaxed view of allegro (be it allegro moderato/vivace/ animato or molto) than either Hough or Darré. The first movements of their C minor Concerto (No 4), for example, last 11’16” and 11’23” respectively, while Descharmes clocks in at 12’27”. All three agree, however, on the beautiful slow movement of the so-called Egyptian Concerto (around the 11’00” mark) and here the Naxos recording comes into its own, with disarmingly lovely playing from the soloist and his Malmö colleagues. This excellent release is completed by Dominic Wells’s first-rate booklet which, for those coming fresh to the music, usefully identifies the principal themes with accurate time codes. © 2018 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

James Manheim, May 2018

The second and final movement also has a tripartite structure. It’s the formal wit of the neoclassicists that Saint-Saëns anticipates, and conductor Marc Soustrot, leading the Malmö Symphony Orchestra, catches the exquisite mood. The opening movement Piano Concerto No. 5 in E major, Op. 103 (“Egyptian”), is a bit more diffuse in Descharmes’ performance, but he has plenty in reserve to handle its Lisztian demands, and he’s quite evocative in the middle movement that gives the concerto its nickname, and that is Javanese (music that Saint-Saëns dismissed but apparently had second thoughts about) as well as Egyptian. © 2018  Read complete review

Remy Franck
Pizzicato, May 2018

With the Piano Concertos Nos 4 & 5 Romain Descharmes and Marc Soustrot complete a highly successful series with lively and genuinely French piano playing as well as a finely shaped and richly detailed orchestral accompaniment. © 2018 Pizzicato

iClassical, April 2018

This is the third volume of Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concertos from this team on the Naxos label and it brings the project to a splendid conclusion. Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concertos are frequently under-rated works but all are well worth getting to know and being added to your collection.

Romain Descharmes, one of the foremost French pianists of his generation, highlights the charm and beauty in these works without being over sentimental. Soustrot and the Malmö Symphony Orchestra, who are no strangers to the orchestral works of Saint-Saëns, accompany with great aplomb. © 2018 iClassical Read complete review

Lynn René Bayley
The Art Music Lounge, April 2018

This is an extremely well-played disc, recorded with good, clear sound. © 2018 The Art Music Lounge Read complete review

Robert Matthew-Walker
Musical Opinion, April 2018

SAINT-SAËNS, C.: Piano Concertos, Vol. 1 - Nos. 1 and 2 (Descharmes, Malmö Symphony, Soustrot) 8.573476
SAINT-SAËNS, C.: Piano Concertos, Vol. 3 - Nos. 4 and 5 (Descharmes, Malmö Symphony, Soustrot) 8.573478

These two single discs complete this excellent pianist’s [Descharmes] recordings of Saint-Saëns’ complete works for piano and orchestra with the fine Malmö Orchestra under their chief conductor, the result being a set of records of admirable consistency and musicianship.

Thankfully, this set of performances are of a high standard throughout, and moving to the second CD (the third in the set), we find the wonderfully original Fourth Concerto of 1875… Descharmes gives a splendid account of this wonderful work, as he does of the later (1896) Fifth Concerto…

…these performances would be hard indeed to equal, let alone beat. Comprehensively recommended. © 2018 Musical Opinion

David Denton
David's Review Corner, April 2018

The final volume in the highly acclaimed cycle of the Saint-Saëns Piano Concertos featuring a French pianist and conductor, Romain Descharmes and Marc Soustrot. When we hear countless performances of the Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov concertos, the neglect into which these works have fallen is shameful. They abound in cheerful melodies, the Fourth, dating from 1875, moulded in two movements and is bubbling with high spirits and joy, while calling on the soloist to produce a deluge of notes as we head towards the end of the high-spirited finale. The Fifth returns to the conventional three movements, with the slow Andante placed second. It has been given the name ‘Egyptian’ for little more reason than it was written there on holiday, and contains precious few colours from that part of the world. Some of those influences stem from Javanese and Spanish cultures, but its main backdrop is an ebullient Gallic vitality. Both place considerable demands on the soloist’s right hand, particularly in the finale of the Fifth that must make many virtuoso pianists wince and shy away from public performances. Certainly you will seldom here such effervescent tempos, Descharmes scintillating approach and sheer dexterity matched by Soustrot’s colourful orchestral role from the excellent Malmö orchestra. Add a fabulous and detailed recording and you have a fervent recommendation not to be missed. © 2018 David’s Review Corner

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