Thierry Escaich, Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liege, Jean Jacques Kantorow – Saint-Sa”ens: Symphonies, Vol. 2 (2021) [FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

Thierry Escaich, Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liege, Jean Jacques Kantorow – Saint-Sa”ens: Symphonies, Vol. 2 (2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/96kHz | Time – 01:14:21 minutes | 1,2 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © BIS

The present album is the second of two recorded by the Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Li`ege and Jean-Jacques Kantorow to commemorate the centenary of the death of Camille Saint-Sa”ens. On the first instalment the team offered us deeply impressive performances in stunning sound of the composer’s First and Second Symphonies and the unnumbered Symphony in A major, but now the time has come for Saint-Sa”ens’ crowning glory in the symphonic genre: his Symphony No. 3 in C minor, generally known as the “Organ Symphony”. The work was composed in 1886, and Saint-Sa”ens had planned to dedicate it to Liszt but the latter’s death the same year caused the dedication in the published score to be modified to “in memory of Franz Liszt”. It is written for a larger orchestra than his previous symphonies, with the unusual addition of a piano and an organ – the two instruments that Liszt (and Saint-Sa”ens himself) favoured. Without being a virtuoso vehicle, the organ part is central to the work – especially in the grandiose ending – and it is here performed by the renowned organist Thierry Escaich, playing the great organ of Li`ege’s Salle Philharmonique.

Here the symphony is preceded by the “Urbs Roma” Symphony, composed in 1856 by a 21-year-old Saint-Sa”ens. It was written for a competition, and its title – “the city of Rome” – was one of the subjects prescribed by the organisers. In the absence of an explanation by the composer, it is unclear how the music relates to the subject. Another enigma is why Saint-Sa”ens omitted the symphony from his catalogue of works, even though it actually won him a first prize. In consequence, “Urbs Roma” remained unpublished until 1974 and is rarely heard even today.

Tracklist:
1. Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Li`ege & Jean-Jacques Kantorow – Symphony in F Major, R. 163 “Urbs Roma”: I. Largo – Allegro (10:34)
2. Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Li`ege & Jean-Jacques Kantorow – Symphony in F Major, R. 163 “Urbs Roma”: II. Molto vivace (05:46)
3. Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Li`ege & Jean-Jacques Kantorow – Symphony in F Major, R. 163 “Urbs Roma”: III. Moderato, assai serioso (11:52)
4. Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Li`ege & Jean-Jacques Kantorow – Symphony in F Major, R. 163 “Urbs Roma”: IV. Poco allegretto – Andante con moto (11:12)
5. Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Li`ege, Jean-Jacques Kantorow & Thierry Escaich – Symphony No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 78, R. 176 “Organ”: I. Adagio – Allegro moderato – Poco adagio (19:13)
6. Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Li`ege, Jean-Jacques Kantorow & Thierry Escaich – Symphony No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 78, R. 176 “Organ”: IIa. Allegro moderato – Presto (07:20)
7. Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Li`ege, Jean-Jacques Kantorow & Thierry Escaich – Symphony No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 78, R. 176 “Organ”: IIb. Maestoso – Allegro (08:24)

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