Michael Stern / Kansas City Symphony / Jan Kraybill

Saint-Saëns: Symphony No. 3 "Organ"; Introduction and Rondo capriccioso; La muse et le poète

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For sonic showcases, Camille Saint-Saëns' Symphony No. 3 in C minor, "Organ," is increasingly recorded by orchestras eager to show off their virtuosity and distinctive tone colors, so this HDCD from Reference Recordings is typical for its flashy program and high-fidelity reproduction. Michael Stern and the Kansas City Symphony deliver this celebrated Romantic symphony with extraordinary vitality, crisp articulation, and brilliant sonorities, and their performances of the two filler pieces are equally vivid and exciting. Of special note are the soloists, organist Jan Kraybill in the symphony, violinist Noah Geller in the Introduction and Rondo capriccioso, and the duo of Geller and cellist Mark Gibbs in La muse et le poète, who give a heightened sense of drama and panache to their respective parts. But the real star of this album seems to be the 24-bit high definition recording, which really sets the musicians in sharp relief and gives them credible dimensions and presence. For listeners who have several recordings of the symphony, this disc will be fun to hear, if not necessary to own, though newcomers to Saint-Saëns could do a lot worse than to add this terrific sounding recording to their collections.

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