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Saint-Saens: Symphony No. 3- Organ / Samson et Dalila Bacchanale / Danse Macabre Import

4.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, March 23, 1987
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$17.74 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 4 left in stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

[Note: This product is an authorized CD-R and is manufactured on demand] There's excitement aplenty too when Barenboim conducts the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in works by Saint-Saëns. His conception of the Third Symphony is very large-scale; he urges his players onwards with tremendous energy and the result is a performance which is gripping and full of tension from first to last. And in the Bacchanale from Samson et Dalila, the Danse macabre and the Prelude to La deluge the playing has a bright-eyed, almost innocent quality which serves the music well.
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7:27
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7:23
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7:11
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris
  • Conductor: Daniel Barenboim
  • Composer: Camille Saint-Saens
  • Audio CD (March 23, 1987)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Umvd Lables Mod Afw
  • ASIN: B00000E332
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #275,550 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This is one of my top two or three pieces and recordings of all time. I have worn out the old DGG record, and have gone through 4 original recordings of the CDs. I keep giving them away to people who I know will appreciate the majesty of the music.
Where do I start? The only criticism I have ever heard came from a person who thought the playing is too heavy...but this does, after all, have the Organ blasting away at the end. No, the approach is not light and French in the FF sections, but why would it be? With a large orchestra (including a battery of percussion and full brass) partnering with the organ, the loud sections are bound to be positively massive. And with the CSO, the effect is not only powerful, but glorious.
At the other extreme, the quiet, expressive Adagio is soothing, passionate, and beautiful beyond words...gorgeously played. The CSO is at its virtuostic best and is a good counterpart for the Litaize organ.
I could go on and on with superlatives. This is the best Saint-Saens 3rd I have ever heard - live or recorded. If you see it, BUY IT before it is out of print. Listening to this piece played by this orchestra will inspire and move you.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The "big-picture" problem the Symphony No. 3 presents is: how do you give it the verve and power it demands without turning it into a "pot-boiler?" Barenboim's rendition meets this challenge as well as can be hoped for. He doesn't indulge in exaggerated fluctuations of tempo (not even at the end, where Levine and others do). He does set a lively pace in the outer movements. The sting playing is crisply articulated, not syrupy/mushy. But he lets the engineers cut loose with dubbing the organ at a powerful level (who could second-guess them as to how loud the Chartres organ might sound in a hall in Chicago?). Fortunately, it really is a wonderful organ and holds its place of prominence with distinction. The only audible hint that the organ is dubbed (loudness aside) is the way it goes on resonating for a moment at the end, after the equally loud orchestral playing is gone (when you dub the organ, you dub the cathedral). There are so many performances of the "Organ" Symphony that I won't claim to have heard half of them, but surely this is among the best.

I'm not quite so impressed with the filler pieces--they're good, well worth having, but they're not standouts on their own merit. If you want, you can pay more for this recording of the "Organ" Symphony paired with Franck's Symphony in D minor. You can also pay more for an "original image bit-processing" version of this disk. The LP of this performance was excellent to begin with, and I doubt that the sound of this CD could be much improved, but I haven't listened to these alternatives.
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Format: Audio CD
When the Philharmonic Society in London flattered Saint-Saens with the title of 'The French Beethoven' and invited him to write a symphony, he warned them that it would be a terrifying one. He was drawn to discreet well-mannered orgies in his choice of musical themes, and it seems that the idea of the big organ part in the symphony originated in his collaboration with none other than the pious Bruckner when inaugurating the organ in the recently-completed Albert Hall. The work is in two main sections, each subdividing into two more, the four making up something very like the standard 4 movements of the classical symphony. The organ reserves its heavy artillery for the second part, and there is also a striking obbligato role for piano, usually thought to require two players. The organ in this recording is that in Chartres cathedral, no less, the organist is Gaston Litaize, and that recording, now digitally remastered, was done in 1976, those of the companion pieces dating from 1981 if I have understood the leaflet correctly.

This performance of the symphony strikes me as really rather good. It reflects credit on everyone concerned including the recording engineers, although I certainly feel that the pianist or pianists deserved a mention among the credits. Considering this work on its own for the moment, I might well have given 5 stars, although I happen to own another account which is just that little bit better. This account is on LP, but it is more recent (1986) than the performance under review, and the recording was in digital sound from the outset, the engineer being the redoubtable Mr Bear. The last time I searched for it I failed to find it in the current catalogues, but it is or was on Classics for Pleasure.
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Format: MP3 Music
While I am by no means invariably a fan of Barenboim as a conductor, I hope I am prepared to give him credit when he deserves it and this is one of those recordings where everything pulls together. First, he has an absolutely superb orchestra in the CSO which purrs like a big cat and whose brass section gleams fearlessly. Secondly, he is working in the idiom which most often suits his talents and temperament; I think he has had particular successes in recordings of French music by composers such as Berlioz, Franck, Debussy, Ravel and, here, Saint-Saëns. Thirdly, we hear for once a mighty organ recorded separately in Chartres but perfectly in tune and perfectly spliced into the ensemble without any weird disparity of acoustic or slips in synchronisation. Fourthly, the sound is absolutely first-rate, Fifthly, Barenboim's conducting is inspired; even though his timings are apparently very little different from other celebrated versions by Ormandy (two I prize, in fact) and Munch, these are much more modern in sound and give the impression of being even more intense and propulsive. Sixthly, the main offering of the symphony is very attractively paired with a programme of Saint-Saëns lollipops splendidly played by l'Orchestre de Paris, including a piece with which I was unfamiliar, the neo-classical Prelude to his "Le Déluge". Finally, this CD is now available on both sides of the Atlantic for virtually nothing - so don't hesitate.
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Saint-Saens: Symphony No. 3- Organ / Samson et Dalila Bacchanale / Danse Macabre
This item: Saint-Saens: Symphony No. 3- Organ / Samson et Dalila Bacchanale / Danse Macabre
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