A Great Carnival with a Good Organ

Review by: David Hurwitz

SaintSaensPappano

Artistic Quality: 8

Sound Quality: 8

Whenever Martha Argerich is involved you can expect an extra jolt of energy, and so it proves. What’s surprising is that Anthony Pappano keeps up with her, resulting in a sizzling Carnival of the Animals. Hens and Roosters, Wild Asses, Pianists (of course)–all the more active numbers bubble over with high spirits, but the Tortoises, The Swan, and The Aquarium come off beautifully as well. The chamber ensemble, drawn from the Santa Cecilia orchestra, digs into their parts with gusto. The opening Royal March is truly grand, with Fossils and the finale full of impish humor. I can imagine many music lovers purchasing this disc for the Carnival alone.

The “Organ” Symphony has received many, many awful performances, and happily this isn’t one of them. Indeed, for a live recording the Santa Cecilia orchestra plays impressively. The first two movements, in particular, go very well, but the finale is let down a bit by some odd sounds from the organ, and a certain sluggishness of tempo. It could be that by this point everyone was getting tired, but at least the live sonics have plenty of impact (and the audience isn’t bothersome). This isn’t a mandatory acquisition, then, but it’s a lot of fun.



Buy Now from Arkiv Music

Recording Details:

Reference Recording: Symphony: Munch (RCA); Carnival: none


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