Friday, December 2, 2016

Camille Saint-Saëns Second Symphony

This peculiarly delightful work was written in 1959, the same year as his opera Sampson and Dalila. The composer was just 24 years old.

There were perhaps calls for orchestras to champion new material occasionally, usually but not always from someone none had heard before. Well, we have heard of this fellow, the Frenchman with the difficult name.

Cah-MEEL San Soen. The two tiny n's are barely pronounced.  He was really quite clever and gifted. Listen to the fleet or perhaps sleek orchestration he comes up with. The emotions are intended to be picturesque rather than very intense or deep, but we have an excellent group here and they catch every little playful trick. Their orchestral tone is exquisite throughout. They have captured the playfulness of what Saint-Saëns – as academic as it is in most instances – was still quite capable. We have the St. Paul Minnesota Chamber Orchestra under Thomas Zehetmair to thank. This work would make a splendid opening work on any modern orchestral program. The work is as follows:

Symphony No. 2 in A minor, Op. 55

1. Allegro marcato
2. Adagio
3. Scherzo. Presto
4. Prestissimo

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