Saint-Saens Symphony no 1 etc
THIS fascinating disc would represent a superb introduction to the music of Camille Saint-Saens. It features an impressive performance of the First Cello Concerto, one of his best-known concert works, lightly played by cellist Pavel Gomziakov. But it's in the other two works on the disc where revelations lie. The First Symphony, written when the composer was 18, is a cracker. Basically it follows the Mendelssohn model, but the music already has, especially in the rising figure in its gorgeous slow movement, the unmistakable flavour of mature Saint-Saens. The second movement is a wonderful pastoral jaunt that canters along with an unforgettable tune, while the finale is a Frenchified Beethovenian romp, without the aggro. In the late work, La Muse Et Le Poete, Augustin Dumay puts down his baton, takes up his violin and joins cellist Gomziakov in a delicate, expressive piece with some rapt intertwining of the instruments. Highly recommended. I'm on a voyage of discovery with this stuff.