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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA68002
Recording details: June 2013
City Halls, Candleriggs, Glasgow, Scotland
Produced by Simon Kiln
Engineered by Arne Akselberg
Release date: September 2014
Total duration: 15 minutes 39 seconds

'This is as close as you'll ever get to musical champagne; I've a feeling Saint-Saëns would have approved … Saint-Saëns's Second Concerto is fiendishly difficult, with much of its virtuosity reserved for the soloist's long accompanying episodes. The composer himself confessed it was 'too difficult' to achieve popularity. Yet Clein has the measure of it, delivering the dizzying double-stops with airborne grace and tight precision … she revels in the spacious cadenza of its curious, short fast movement, combining limpid vocalise with insouciant runs' (BBC Music Magazine) » More
PERFORMANCE
RECORDING

'This is a first-class recording, the fifth in Hyperion's series of Romantic cello concertos. Anybody wanting both Saint-Saëns's Cello Concertos and La muse et le poète really doesn't need to look any further. Natalie Clein is a comprehensively gifted player who performs these pieces with an ideal combination of warm-hearted expressiveness and astonishing technical agility. She also demonstrates a rare understanding of how the solo instrument is often woven into Saint-Saëns's beautifully written orchestral textures. And here, again, this release scores very highly. Andrew Manze and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra are the most imaginative and sensitive partners' (International Record Review) » More

'A new recording by Natalie Clein is always an event … and this one finds her on top form … this is exciting stuff with a real sense of happening … Concerto No 2 draws a muscular response from both orchestra and soloist. The beauty and freedom of Clein’s playing in the first movement’s three solo episodes and in the poignant Andante sostenuto is matched by her technical confidence and strong tone' (The Strad)

La muse et le poète, Op 132
composer
1910; for violin, cello and orchestra; composed as a piano trio in memory of Mme Caruette and subsequently orchestrated; published by Durand (who changed the title)

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Saint-Saëns’s final work involving the cello was La muse et le poète, Op 132, in which that instrument is joined by a violin to form what he referred to as a conversation between the two instruments instead of a debate between two virtuosos. The background to the work’s composition has its bizarre side. A statue of the composer had been exhibited in the Paris Salon of 1907. A female admirer, Mme Caruette, wanted to present it to the town of Dieppe, but strictly a law forbade the erection of statues to the living. However, political intervention solved that problem and the statue duly found a place in the town’s theatre, allowing Saint-Saëns to make one of his tart sallies, to the effect that since he must be dead to have a statue of himself put up, he wouldn’t need to make a speech. When the good Mme Caruette rejoined her ancestors in 1909, he wrote a one-movement piano trio in her memory which his publisher, Jacques Durand, insisted on giving the title it now bears, much to his fury. He then orchestrated it and the work was premiered in London in 1910 by Ysaÿe and Hollman. A critic of the Parisian premiere found in it tenderness, sombreness and pain as well as an inner drama. Beyond these qualities, listeners need not make an effort to discern a form for the piece: its improvisational structure was deliberate, as a hit against the Germans whose insistence on formal rigour was, he felt, destroying music’s soul.

from notes by Roger Nichols © 2014

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