[ Erato / CD ]
Release Date: Saturday 1 December 2018
Following his award-winning survey of Ravel's complete solo piano works, Bertrand Chamayou takes on some of the most brilliant yet fiendishly virtuosic music in the French Romantic repertoire on his new Saint-Saëns album, drawing together the two most famous of the composer-pianist's five piano concertos - the epic No.2 and the irresistibly exotic No.5 'The Egyptian' - alongside a bouquet of lesser-known solo pieces and études that will delight pianophiles. These include the effervescent yet notoriously difficult Étude en forme de Valse with its breathtaking bravura finale, and the entrancing Les Cloches de Las Palmas inspired by the bells Saint-Saëns heard ringing out in the Canary Islands. 'I'm always charmed by Saint-Saëns,' says Chamayou. 'There's an attraction to the exotic, the bizarre, sensual fantasy, that's very curious for a composer that we think of as so academic. And there's a real sense of voyage in the music of Saint-Saëns that I find fascinating.' He is joined by the Orchestre National de France and its formidable conductor Emmanuel Krivine for an album that promises fireworks, champagne and just a few puffs of opium.
"The nimbleness and fluidity of his playing is remarkable. It's a zingy performance (of the Second Concerto) all round, with a vigorous performance from the Orchestre National de France, conducted by Emmanuel Krivine…The recording is rounded off with a handful of solo pieces…There are some beautiful gems here." BBC Music
"[Concerto No. 2] Chamayou and Krivine give a sparkling performance, full of wit and grace, highlighting the dramatic passages in a performance as good as any I have heard. Their account of the Egyptian Fifth is equally impressive, perhaps marginally outpointing Hough and Oramo. With terrific sound, this is a highly recommendable release." International Piano Five Stars
Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22
Piano Concerto No. 5 in F major, Op. 103 'Egyptian'
Les Cloches de Las Palmas (No. 4 from Six Études, Op. 111)
tude en forme de valse (No. 6 from Six Études, Op. 52)
Mazurka for Piano no 3 in B minor, Op. 66
Tierces majeures chromatiques (No. 5 from Six Études, Op. 111)
Allegro appassionato for piano, or piano & orchestra, Op. 70
Etude pour l'independance des doigts (No. 2 from Six Études, Op. 52)
Valse nonchalante, Op. 110