Louis Lortie / Truls Mørk / Neeme Järvi / Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

Saint-Saëns: Cello Concertos Nos. 1 and 2; The Carnival of the Animals; Africa; Wedding-cake

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The essence of Camille Saint-Saëns' music comes through perhaps most clearly in his music for solo instrument and orchestra, which exemplifies his elegant combination of melody and conservatory-generated virtuosity. The two cello concertos are here, plus a pair of crowd-pleasing short works for piano and orchestra, and the evergreen Carnival of the Animals, with pianists Louis Lortie and Hélène Mercier joining forces along with a collection of instruments that includes the often-omitted glass harmonica. There are all kinds of attractions here: the gently humorous and not over-broad Carnival, the songful cello playing of Truls Mørk, and the little-known piano-and-orchestra scene Africa, Op. 89, with its lightly Tunisian flavor (sample this final track). But really, the central thread connecting them all is the conducting of Neeme Järvi and the light, graceful work of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra; French music is the nearly 80-year-old Järvi's most congenial environment, and in this recording, perhaps his last devoted to Saint-Saëns, he has never been better. Chandos contributes idiomatic sound from the Grieg Hall in Bergen, and even if Saint-Saëns has little to say about life's deep questions, you won't care.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Concerto No. 1 in A minor for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 33
1 06:01 Amazon
2 05:05 Amazon
3 09:10 Amazon
Concerto No. 2 in D minor for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 119
4 11:43 Amazon
5 06:26 Amazon
Les Carnaval des animaux for Two Pianos, Flute, Clarinet, Glass Harmonica, Xylophone, and Strings
6 02:04 Amazon
7 00:41 Amazon
8 00:37 Amazon
9 01:42 Amazon
10 01:23 Amazon
11 00:53 Amazon
12 02:18 Amazon
13 00:49 Amazon
14 02:08 Amazon
15 01:20 Amazon
16 01:15 Amazon
17 01:15 Amazon
18 02:33 Amazon
19 02:02 Amazon
20 05:57 Amazon
21 09:58 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick