Saint-Saens - Piano Concertos 1 & 2, Africa, Wedding Cake, etc. | BIS BIS2400

Saint-Saens - Piano Concertos 1 & 2, Africa, Wedding Cake, etc.


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Label: BIS

Cat No: BIS2400

Barcode: 7318599924007

Format: Hybrid SACD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Orchestral

Release Date: 6th May 2022

Gramophone Editor's Choice



In 2019, Alexandre and Jean-Jacques Kantorow’s recording of the last three piano concertos by Camille Saint-Saëns earned the highest praise around the world, including a Diapason d’or de l’année, Editor’s Choice in Gramophone and top marks and recommendations from the leading German web sites Klassik Heute and The Kantorows’ orchestra of choice was the Finnish ensemble Tapiola Sinfonietta, and they have now returned to Helsinki to record not only Saint-Saëns’ first two concertos, but all of the remaining works for piano and orchestra.

Presented on this amply filled disc, the programme spans 33 years, the earliest work being Concerto no.1, regarded as the first significant French piano concerto and written by a 23-year old composer. Ten years later, in 1868, Saint-Saëns composed the Concerto in G minor, a work which at first met with consternation although Liszt – who was present at the first performance – thoroughly approved of it. The work, which begins with the soloist playing what resembles the improvisations of an organist, soon became popular however, and remains one of Saint-Saëns’ best-known works. The shorter pieces which make up the rest of the programme were written between 1884 and 1891, and could be said to reveal different aspects of the composer: Wedding Cake was written as a wedding present to a close friend, in Rhapsodie d’Auvergne Saint-Saëns explored French folk music, while Africa is a piece of pure Orientalism, reflecting his lasting affection for North Africa.


The prospect of a recording of any of Saint-Saëns’s works for piano and orchestra is always a delightful one. You know you are in for an hour or more of music that lifts the spirits with its joie de vivre and inexhaustible supply of memorable ideas. ... It’s a terrific programme – unique for a single disc, so far as I know – clocking in at 85 minutes, and another feather in the cap of the gifted soloist and his partners.  Jeremy Nicholas
Gramophone June 2022
This is very special. The previous disc of Saint-Saëns’s piano concertos from the father-and-son team of conductor Jean-Jacques and Alexander Kantorow featured exceptionally impressive performances of the the Third, Fourth and Fifth concertos. ... this disc complees a Saint-Saëns piano concerto set that has few peers and none that are better.  Christopher Dingle (Concerto Choice)
BBC Music Magazine July 2022

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