"As far as single-disc compendiums of Camille Saint-Saëns’ shorter orchestral works go, this new release on the Chandos label buries the competition....he [Neeme Järvi] conducts
with the zest of a Gustavo Dudamel, setting a new standard for everything on this consummately programmed disc.The album begins with the ever popular "Bacchanale" from the
opera Samson et Dalila ...This performance in super audio sound must be one of the most exciting on record..."
Bob McQuiston - Classical Lost and Found - 4 September 2012
“... All in all this is a disc with plenty to discover and enjoy!”
Geoffrey Norris – Gramophone magazine – September 2012
Peter J Rabinowitz – International Record Review – July/August 2012
"...The performances are first-class in their brio, sympathy and sensitivity, Ralph Couzens’s sound is top-drawer (audiophiles will be drooling), and the music consistently skilled (both in invention and scoring), enjoyable and memorable. This is a superb release on every count."
Colin Anderson - Classicalsource.com - 14 June 2012
BBC Music Orchestral Choice – August 2012
Performance ***** Recording *****
“This is pure pleasure... this marvellous new disc from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Neeme Järvi is a collection of sparkling gems...The RSNO is in top form, with shimmering strings, colourful woodwind and swaggering brass, full of wit, colour and joie de vivre. The recording is also outstanding, sound great in stereo while the surround mix is beautiful, giving a wonderful natural bloom that is perfect for this effervescent music.”
Christopher Dingle – BBC Music magazine – August 2012
"Fêted from the Midle East to South America (where he wrote the Uruguayan national anthem) during his lifetime, Camille Saint-Saëns is remarkable both for the variety an volume of his orientalist music and the sophistication of its orchestration. Neeme Järvi’s programme of symphonic poems, bacchanales and barcolles ranges from the smokily luxuriant to the swashbuckling. An attractive performance of exotic bon-bons from the RSNO."
Anna Picard - The Independent - 23 June 2012
Performance ***** Sonics *****
"...The disc opens with a thrillingly frenetic account of the ’Danse bacchanale’ from the third Act of Saint-Saëns’ opera ’Samson et Dalila’ in which Järvi and the players of the RSNO revel in both the music’s oriental barbarism as well as its sensuality. Spirited performances of the well-known ’Marche militaire française’ and the delicious overture to the composer’s light opera ’La Princesse jaune’ follow before we reach the three rarities that complete the programme. Saint-Saëns described ’Une nuit a Lisbonne’ as ’a little barcarolle’.Scored for small orchestra and lasting under four minutes it is a captivating miniature, especially when played as affectionately as here.The Concert Overture ’Spartacus’ dates from 1863 though the composer never published it and it languished forgotten until the 1990s. It is a fiery work with a flavour of one of Liszt’s more flamboyant symphonic poems – just the sort of piece that brings out the best in Järvi’s conducting style. The same is true of the final work on the disc - the ’Marche du couronnement’.This splendid march, written for the coronation of Edward VII in 1902, is given a terrific performance full of swagger, appropriate Edwardian pomp and crowned with clangorous tubular bells. The 24-bit/96 kHz 5.0 channel surround sound recording matches the high standard set on a number of recent Chandos recordings made in the ample acoustic of the Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow. It delivers a convincing orchestral image, one that also graphically conveys the acoustic signature of the recording venue. Very detailed and informative liner notes by Roger Nichols are also most welcome.
Castor - SA-CD.net - 30 May 2012
I first discovered Saint Saens when I was a truck driver listening to Composer of the week on Radio Three, some years ago. I have to say that Neem Jarvi blows the rest out of the water. It has so much verve, so much depth, there is so much to listen to, I just listen over and over. It just gets better.
This is my first serious attempt at downloading music, and I must confess there was a hiccup or two at the beginning. But I think I have the hang of it now. Beautiful.
Fantastic performances and recording quality.
My first venture into classical downloads. Took a few attempts to work out how to transcode Studio Masters so my ipod would take them (24bit/48kHz limit). FLACs great on Squeezebox.
Most music lovers would know several of these pieces very well: Danse Bachanale, Le Rouet d'Omphale and Marche Militaire Francaise. And who can listen to Danse Macabre without thinking of Jonathan Creek?
The familiarity of these works does not diminish their impact on this fine disc of Saint-Saens' orchestral music. The lesser known works are also well worth investigating.
Saint-Saens was a brilliant musical craftsman.
Orchestra and sound are top class.