Saint-Saëns's Carnival of the Animals
The Gramophone Choice
Le carnaval des animaux
Coupled with Fantaisie, Op 124. Prière, Op 158. Romance, Op 36. Septet, Op 65. Samson et Dalîla – Mon cœur s’ouvre à ta voix (arr vc)
Emmanuel Pahud fl Paul Meyer cl David Guerrier tpt Florent Jodelet perc Frank Braley, Michel Dalberto pfs Renaud Capuçon, Béatrice Muthelet, Esther Hoppe vns Gautier Capuçon vc Janne Saksala db Marie-Pierre Langlamet hp
Virgin Classics 545603-2 (63‘ · DDD). Buy from Amazon
‘What hard things,’ wrote Saint-Saëns, ‘have been said against virtuosity!…The fact must be proclaimed from the house-tops – in art a difficulty overcome is a thing of beauty.’ There are many such beauties in Le carnaval des animaux, and their difficulties aren’t for the faint-hearted or the technically challenged, especially where the two pianists are concerned. On this disc the difficulties are not only overcome but dispatched with tremendous verve and wit.
In the Septet the players rightly refuse to make more of the music than is really there. This light touch allows us to relish Saint-Saëns’s professionalism: every part in the texture has its own shape and colour and, if there were compositional difficulties to be overcome, you’d never know. The four shorter pieces on this splendid disc include the delicious Fantaisie for violin and harp, and three arrangements for cello and piano taken from the horn, organ and operatic repertoires.