Loris Tjeknavorian

Saint-Saëns: Symphony No. 3 "Organ"; Danse Macabre; Carnival of Animals

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AllMusic Review by

It would seem that there are two basic options for recording the Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony, each with pros and cons. The first possibility would be to make the recording in a standard orchestral concert hall, designed with acoustics to maximize the sound of a symphony orchestra. The downside of this solution seems that most concert halls do not possess organs on the scale and grandeur of a cathedral. So why not just record it in the cathedral where there's access to any number of magnificent organs? Then the con becomes unfavorable acoustics for the orchestra; either way, it's problematic. The present recording featuring the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic opts for the latter solution. As such, there are lots of balance problems on the album. The recording level is very low, so to be able to hear the softer portions of this grand work, the volume must really be cranked up. The orchestra does not blend well; the brass stick out far too much from the rest of the ensemble, the tympani are muddy and sluggish, and fast passages in the strings are blurred and imprecise. On the other hand, the organ of the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral sounds magnificent. It's up to listeners to decide which they'd rather hear clearly -- the organ or the orchestra.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Symphony No. 3 in C minor ("Organ"), Op. 78
1 09:20 Amazon
2 09:23 Amazon
3 06:45 Amazon
4 07:35 Amazon
5 07:06 Amazon
Carnival of the Animals, zoological fantasy for 2 pianos & ensemble
6 01:52 Amazon
7 00:48 Amazon
8 00:36 Amazon
9 01:40 Amazon
10 01:24 Amazon
11 01:04 Amazon
12 02:01 Amazon
13 01:06 Amazon
14 02:08 Amazon
15 01:15 Amazon
16 01:18 Amazon
17 01:18 Amazon
18 03:25 Amazon
19 02:04 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick