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Day of judgement

Saint-Saëns Requiem -

'... Saint-Saëns is at his best, and the LPO under Geoffrey Simon enjoys chasing his every nuance.'

Saint-Saëns: Requiem; Organ Symphony (p) 2001 Cala Records


It was never wise for Saint-Saëns to take himself too seriously. He is the best of company when blowing such bubbles as a violin Havanaise, ebullient piano concerto, or wickedly clever Carnival of the Animals (even including the serenely gliding 'Swan'). I have to confess to a moment of carelessness due largely to the CD labelling which blazons only the two major works. Hence I listened with relish to a slightly mournful Rossiniesque start of track 1, anticipating a Requiem of jolly contour and cheerful send-off for the corpse. It was only as the minutes passed and there was no hint of the word 'Requiem' that I checked the back of the CD and found I was listening to the start of Saint-Saëns's 1872 opera, La princesse jaune [listen -- track 1, 0:04-1:00]. Slight hints of the East should have alerted me: they turned out to be not the Middle East of an afflicted Palestine but the Far East of a Japan as yet undevalued by President Bush. A potion transports the young Dutch Kornelis to the Japan of which he is totally enamoured; when he recovers from his imaginative journey, he finds himself in the arms of the devoted Lena who has loved him throughout his obsession.

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Copyright © 27 March 2002 Robert Anderson, London, UK




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