Saint-Saëns: Violin Concertos

These sparkling performances of Saint-Saëns' violin concertos are a fitting start to Hyperion's new series of Romantic Violin Concertos; a follow on from the highly successful Romantic Piano Concerto series.

Saint-Saëns C Major concerto resembles Mendelssohn's great violin concerto. Both are declamatory, extravagant in character, highly lyrical and immediately establish the soloist as a romantic protagonist.

Though more conventional, the violin writing for the Concerto in A Major is ever-inventive, especially in the witty second episode where the hen from Le Carnaval des Animaux makes a premature entrance. This was the first of several works he composed for the great Spanish violinist Pablo de Sarasate; in 1859 just fifteen years old but already a famous virtuoso. Saint-Saëns' instantly memorable melodies are a feature of all his best-known works, and there are tunes in abundance in the well-known B Minor Concerto. The intense B minor mood probably offered inspiration for the violin concertos of Elgar and Bartók.

CDA67074  75 minutes 24 seconds
‘Hyperion holds a trump card in Philippe Graffin, whose elegant, emotionally charged playing is strongly reminiscent of the young Menuhin (he has a similar sort of sound) and whose understanding of th ...
‘Philippe Graffin is fully equal to [the] formidable technical demands, and also strikes an essential spark illuminating the music’s character and passionate stimulus’ (The Daily Telegraph)
‘The delightful surprise here is the Second Concerto, full of youthful exuberance. Philippe Graffin, with rich, firm tone, gives performances full of temperament, warmly supported by Martyn Brabbins a ...