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Track(s) taken from CDA67431/2

Caprice sur des airs danois et russes, Op 79


The Nash Ensemble
Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Studio Master:
Studio Master:
Recording details: July 2004
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Release date: May 2005
Total duration: 10 minutes 51 seconds

Cover artwork: Afternoon in the Park by Hippolyte Petitjean (1854-1929)
Phillips Fine Art / Bridgeman Art Library, London


'This is a set of sheer delight: let's hear it for imaginative conservatism' (Gramophone)

'Sheer delight' (Gramophone)

'These are full-blooded performances, packed with energy and colour, and every corner is turned under complete control' (BBC Music Magazine)

'It is repertoire that really shows up the ensemble's strengths and its ability to encompass the richest ensemble-playing, as well as the exposed solo work required of the accompanied sonata medium … there is plenty of mellifluously drawn melodic writing, playful harmonic twists and textural ingenuity to enjoy' (The Daily Telegraph)

'It is a charming collection, beautifully played; this is precisely the repertoire in which the Nash excels … The opening cantilena of the Oboe Sonata is positively rapturous … just as the mysterious fugal introduction to the finale of the early Piano Quintet [is] fabulously played by cellist Paul Watkins and violist Lawrence Power' (The Guardian)

'[The] Sonatas are all played with an ideal combination of infectious virtuosity and phrasal sensitivity to have these all-too-rarely heard works come dancing off the page. Sensational flautist Philippa Davies is on hand to add her own special brand of artistry … and producer Andrew Keener and engineer Simon Eadon typically capture the proceedings with their usual magical blend of warmth and clarity, making this an issue to cherish. The Nash Ensemble could hardly wish for a finer musical testimonial in this their fortieth birthday year' (International Record Review)

'A splendid two-disc set … mounted with that special sparkle they always bring to French repertoire' (The Times)

'A legend in his own lifetime, Saint-Saëns tantalises us with distinctive, lively and imaginative pieces, explored and played with terrific vivacity and style' (Classic FM Magazine)

'The Nash Ensemble, a British organisation that alters its makeup as the situation requires, has a long and distinguished history on record. This latest offering continues the tradition. Warmly recommended' (Fanfare, USA)
The Caprice sur des airs danois et russes Op 79 was specially composed for Paul Taffanel (flute), Georges Gillet (oboe), and Charles Turban (clarinet) who joined Saint-Saëns for a series of seven concerts organized by the Russian Red Cross in St Petersburg during Easter Week of April 1887. He dedicated the work to the Tsarina, Maria Feodorovna, who had been born Princess Sophie Fredericka Dagmar, daughter of the King of Denmark, and hence the reason why Danish and Russian themes, supplied to him by musicologist Julien Tiersot, were incorporated. The interesting effects produced by the arrangement of the instruments greatly pleased the court, and although the piece had not been published at its premiere, Saint-Saëns made few modifications for the final version. The great success prompted the same group to repeat their performance in London two months later. The Caprice exploits the wonderful hues and nuances of the woodwind palette: both the expressive and the mournful are interspersed with sparkling passages for the piano. The lower register of the clarinet and bassoon are often used with great effect in the articulation of the authentic Russian and Danish melodies. The tempo varies from lively, energetic sections to slow, expressive, improvisational themes in duple and triple meters, played in solo and ensemble combinations.

from notes by Sabina Teller Ratner © 2005

Le Caprice sur des airs danois et russes, op. 79 fut composé spécialement pour Paul Taffanel (flûte), Georges Gillet (hautbois) et Charles Turban (clarinette), qui se joignirent à Saint-Saëns pour une série de sept concerts organisés par la Crois-Rouge russe à Saint-Pétersbourg, lors de la semaine pascale d’avril 1887. L’œuvre est dédiée à la tsarine Maria Feodorovna, née princesse Sophie Fredericka Dagmar, fille du roi du Danemark – d’où la présence de thèmes russes et danois (fournis par le musicologue Julien Tiersot). Les intéressants effets produits par l’arrangement des instruments plurent énormément à la cour et, bien que l’œuvre n’eût pas été publiée à sa création, Saint-Saëns apporta quelques modifications pour la version définitive. Le vif succès remporté incita le même ensemble à reprendre ce Caprice à Londres, deux mois plus tard. Cette pièce exploite les merveilleuses teintes et nuances de la palette des bois: l’expressif et le mélancolique sont émaillés de passages étincelants pour le piano. Le registre inférieur de la clarinette et du basson est utilisé avec grand effet dans l’articulation des authentiques mélodies russes et danoises. Le tempo va des sections gaies, énergiques, aux thèmes lents, expressifs, improvisés, en mesures binaire et ternaire, joués en solo et dans des combinaisons d’ensemble.

extrait des notes rédigées par Sabina Teller Ratner © 2005
Français: Hypérion

Das Caprice sur des airs danois et russes op. 79 entstand für Paul Taffanel (Flöte), Georges Gillet (Oboe) und Charles Turban (Klarinette), die zusammen mit Saint-Saëns eine Reihe von sieben Konzerten in St. Petersburg in der Osterwoche im April 1887 gaben, die vom Russischen Roten Kreuz organisiert worden war. Er widmete das Werk der Zarin, Maria Feodorovna, ehemals Prinzessin Sophie Fredericka Dagmar, Tochter des dänischen Königs, die der Grund für die Kombination von dänischen und russischen Themen war, die Saint-Saëns von dem Musikwissenschaftler Julien Tiersot geliefert worden waren. Die interessanten Effekte, die sich durch die Besetzung ergeben, wurden vom Hof mit Beifall aufgenommen, und obwohl das Stück bei seiner Premiere noch nicht veröffentlicht war, nahm Saint-Saëns nur wenige Änderungen vor, bevor er es in den Druck schickte. Nach dem großen Erfolg führten die Musiker das Werk zwei Monate später in London noch mal auf. In dem Caprice kommen die verschiedenen Schattierungen und Nuancen der Holzbläser-Palette wunderbar zum Ausdruck: sowohl die expressiven als auch die melancholischen Seiten erklingen im Wechsel mit perlenden Passagen des Klaviers. Das tiefere Register der Klarinette und des Fagotts wird oft sehr wirkungsvoll in der Artikulation der authentischen russischen und dänischen Melodien eingesetzt. Das Tempo ist variabel und reicht von lebhaften, energischen Passagen bis hin zu langsamen, expressiven, improvisatorischen Themen im Zweier-und Dreiertakt mit sowohl solistischer Besetzung als auch im Ensemble.

aus dem Begleittext von Sabina Teller Ratner © 2005
Deutsch: Viola Scheffel

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