Saint-Saëns: Symphony No. 3 - Latry, Eschenbach
Ondine ODE 1094-5
Classical - Orchestral
Saint-Saëns: Symphony No. 3 in C minor Op. 78 "Organ Symphony", Poulenc: Organ Concerto in G minor, Barber: Toccata Festiva
Olivier Latry (organ)
Christoph Eschenbach (conductor)
A sonic spectacular with the 'King of Instruments'... - For their fourth recording together, Music Director Christoph Eschenbach leads The Philadelphia Orchestra through a program of prominent masterpieces for organ and orchestra, joined by world-renowned organist Olivier Latry of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris: the majestic "Organ" Symphony by Saint-Saëns, the spiritually imbued Organ Concerto by Poulenc and the very celebratory Toccata Festiva by Barber. Recorded at the inaugural concerts of the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ, the largest concert organ in the United States, this recording captures The Philadelphia Orchestra and its new organ in all their sonic glory. The press qualified the performances as electrifying ("one of the great performances in Eschenbach's music-director tenure. (…) If this performance is well-captured on disc, it will be a case of lightning in a bottle." - The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 13, 2006).
Review by Mark Novak - February 13, 2007
Let me start with the best part of this recording - the sonics. They are really very good, especially when the organ is playing. The lowest octaves are captured very well giving the sound a stable, realistic foundation that so many recordings lack. The integration of orchestra and organ is also very good. The low organ pedal note near the end of the Saint-Saens is fantastic!
Sonics aside, its downhill from there. The piece of main interest to most will be the Saint-Saens Sym 3 and unfortunately it is not a stellar performance. The first two movements are taken slowly to the point that I almost lost interest in the performance each time I listened to it. Maybe others would categorize the approach as pensive or thoughtful - for me it was just turgid and boring. Then, we have a third mvmt that speeds along at a hectic clip. Too fast! If there is a redeeming feature to this performance its in the last mvmt which is taken at an appropriate pace and ends in a satisying conclusion. Overall, a disappointing performance and one for which I had high hopes. Only 2 stars for performance on this work.
The Poulenc is a work I've known for years and I must say it is better performed than the S-S. Here the tempos are more "normal" and the piece benefits from that approach. I'd rank this performance as 4 stars.
The Barber is unfamiliar to me. It begins with a bang and Escenbach seems to do a good job of directing traffic here. I'm glad to have made its acquaintence with this recording. 4 stars here as well.
Overall, factoring in the performance of the Saint-Saens, I'd give this an overall 3 stars for performance.
Copyright © 2007 Mark Novak and HRAudio.net