Saint-Saëns: The Complete Works for Piano and Orchestra by Hyperion

Saint-Saëns: The Complete Works for Piano and Orchestra by Hyperion
Saint-Saëns: The Complete Works for Piano and Orchestra by Hyperion Saint-Saëns: The Complete Works for Piano and Orchestra by Hyperion Saint-Saëns: The Complete Works for Piano and Orchestra by Hyperion Saint-Saëns: The Complete Works for Piano and Orchestra by Hyperion (click images to enlarge)

Saint-Saëns: The Complete Works for Piano and Orchestra by Hyperion

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Description of Saint-Saëns: The Complete Works for Piano and Orchestra...

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Manufacturer Description

Œuvres piano & orch. (Intégrale) / Concertos piano : N°1 op.17, N°2 op.22, N°3 op.29, N°4 op.44, N°5 op.103 - Rhapsodie d'Auvergne, op.73 - Allegro appassionato, op.70 - Africa, op.89 / Stephen Hough, piano - Orch. Symph. de Birmingham, dir. Sakari Oramo

Stephen Hough's recording of Saint-Saëns' piano concertos comes as no surprise: he is our leading champion of once-lost pianistic causes--Scharwenka, Sauer and Mompou being among the composers he has brilliantly committed to disc. For all his fame, Saint-Saëns is a harder cause to champion than any of the above, since his music really is at times mere padding. But what those who deride him fail to see is that the Muse also frequently perched on his shoulder, most notably in the Fourth Concerto with its lovely set of variations. They also miss the central point about his art, which reflected a rigorously anti-Romantic stance: "Art is intended to create beauty and character," he wrote. "Feeling only comes afterwards, and art can very well do without it." As the author of Hyperion's excellent liner-note rightly observes, it's ironic that Saint-Saëns ' anti-emotionality should have damned him in the eyes of critics, when Stravinsky's similar stance earned him accolades. Stephen Hough brings his customary grace and precision to bear in these unexpectedly interesting works, ably abetted by Sakari Oramo in the pit. Sometimes the composer paints intimate tone-pictures, sometimes he evokes vast waterscapes, but at all times Hough keeps you alert and on the edge of your seat. --Michael Church

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