Neeme Jarvi conducts Saint-Saens | Chandos CHSA5104

Neeme Jarvi conducts Saint-Saens

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Label: Chandos

Cat No: CHSA5104

Format: SACD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Orchestral

Release Date: 28th May 2012



The works on this disc are all early, dating from the first half of the composing life of Saint-SaŽns, with the one exception of the Marche du couronnement which the composer wrote for the coronation of Edward VII in 1902.  

In Spartacus, the composer depicts Alphonse PagŤsís tragedy on the revolt headed by the ill-fated gladiator in 73 BC by use of bold, chromatic notes, followed by a military allegro which integrates them. After a tender theme, the bold notes return, now with a downward turn at the end, probably evoking Spartacusís defeat, and the concert overture ends with a march that recalls the tender theme.

Equally dramatic is Saint-SaŽnsís symphonic poem PhaŽton. In ancient Greek myths, PhaŽton, the son of Helios, is reluctantly given permission to drive his fatherís sun chariot. As PhaŽton fails to control the chariot, and carries the sun too close to the earth, Zeus intervenes and brings the unfortunate ride Ė and PhaŽton himself Ė to an abrupt end by means of a thunderbolt. Saint-SaŽnsís writing for large-scale orchestra (including contra-bassoon, tuba, two harps and three timpanists) brings with it a pure, raw energy. The intense state of panic is signalled by a menacing low note on the trombone and further heightened through subsequent imitative entries that crowd in on one another. After Zeusís massive thunderbolt, the music subsides into a feeling of loss and regret.

Saint-SaŽnsís other three symphonic poems are also on this disc Ė Le Rouet díOmphale, Danse macabre and La Jeunesse díHercule Ė as well as the ĎDanse bacchanaleí from Samson et Dalila and the ĎMarche militaire franÁaiseí from Suite algťrienne.

The works are performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and its Conductor Laureate, Neeme Jšrvi, who in the course of his conducting career has amassed a distinguished discography of more than 440 recordings, well over 150 of them for Chandos Records.

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