Saint-Saëns: Organ Symphony & Carnival of the Animals (CD)

Warner Classics
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Antonio Pappano, Martha Argerich, Daniele Rossi, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia

Martha Argerich and Antonio Pappano (as pianist rather than conductor) lead the fun in Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals with Members of the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. The entire orchestra assembles under Pappano’s baton for another of Saint-Saëns’ most celebrated works, the magnificent ‘Organ’ Symphony, No 3.

The pianists are perhaps the most exotic of all the creatures in the Carnival of the Animals. A very rare and treasurable pairing has been made by Warner Classics for this new recording of Saint-Saëns’ enchantingly witty suite: Martha Argerich, often described as the world’s finest example of the pianist species, and Antonio Pappano, a particularly fine specimen of the conductor-pianist.

NB. Carnival of the Animals is narrated in French.

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BBC Music Magazine

4 Stars

[In the Organ Symphony] Pappano brings us a drama in music that undoubtedly compels and raises the hairs at every turn. The only trouble is that it leaves one wondering whether Saint-Saëns really is being ideally served…[Carnival of the Animals is pure fun, and even if it is delivered with unusual heat, the high energy and glittering pianism prove irresistible.

The Guardian

4 Stars

Soloists from Antonio Pappano’s Rome orchestra, the Accademia di Santa Cecilia have a high old time with it here, their playing brightly coloured and characterful; the roosters crow and the donkeys/critics bray with abandon...The Organ Symphony is recorded live, with Pappano conducting the full Santa Cecilia orchestra in a performance that maintains its momentum and punch through to a decidedly epic-sounding conclusion.

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Saint-Saëns: Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op. 78 'Organ Symphony'
Live recording
Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Antonio Pappano
Daniele Rossi (organ)

Saint-Saëns: Le carnaval des animaux (The Carnival of the Animals)
Zoological fantasy for 2 pianos and ensemble
Martha Argerich & Antonio Pappano, pianos
Spoken texts by Francis Blanche, spoken in French by Annie Dutoit