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26.9.04

Dip Your Ears, No. 10

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Saint-Saëns, Piano Concertos,
J.-P.Collard / A.Previn
EMI



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Saint-Saëns, Piano Concertos,
P.Rogé / C.Dutoit
Decca



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Saint-Saëns, Piano Concertos,
S.Hough / S.Oramo
Hyperion

Saint-Saëns was embarrassed to see the Carnival of the Animals published. He shouldn't have been... he should have burned the score, though, if it can be blamed for the serious composer Saint-Saëns still being given short shrift apart from his Organ Symphony. His piano concertos—all five of them—are among the most eminently enjoyable works in that genre and, although light, entertaining music, no child's play at all. They are unabashedly Romantic but freer, less gloomy and less backwards-looking than the works of his eastern European contemporaries who also dabbled in the realm of the piano concerto. J.-P. Collard and André Previn do an amiable and admirable job and challenge—almost—the splendid Rogé/Dutoit "double-Decca." Neither can match the Stephen Hough recording on Hyperion (which, however, isn't perfectly engineered), but the price on this double forte release is good and the music is well done and deserves your ears, no matter in which version.

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