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Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op. 78 'Organ Symphony'
Symphonie en fa Urbs Roma

Bernard Gavoty (organ)
Orchestre National de l’ORTF, Jean Martinon

When Franz Liszt overheard Camille Saint-Saëns playing the organ at the Madeleine in Paris, he hailed the young Frenchman as the ‘greatest organist in the world’. Saint-Saëns’talents did not end there: he was a gifted composer - among his most famous works are ‘The Carnival of the Animals’ and ‘Danse Macabre’ - and, naturally, the symphony in which he used his own virtuoso instrument would become his one of his best-loved works. This collection brings together his revered ‘Organ’ Symphony and the Symphony in F ‘Urbs Roma’.

Saint-Saëns originally subtitled Symphony No.3 in C minor Op.87 (unusually arranged in just two movements) as simply avec orgue; the organ does not feature as a solo instrument, but its presence alongside the orchestra adds an exciting dimension to the piece, especially in the lowest pedal notes and the delightful dialogues between the organ and strings. The addition of the arpeggios of the piano part (scored for four hands) provides a wonderful contrast to the organ’s thunderous notes. The Symphony in F ‘Urbs Roma’ is the longest of Saint-Saëns’symphonic compositions, and remained unpublished during the composer’s lifetime. The first movement brims with elegant strings, while the subsequent Molto vivace invokes a whirring dance. The third movement has been described as a ‘funeral march for the death of an empire’, after which the ensuing Poco allegretto - Andante con moto brings the work to a tranquil end. The works are performed by the Orchestre National de l’ORTF conducted by Jean Martinon, featuring acclaimed organist Bernard Gavoty.

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  • Seller location: Lower Hutt City, Wellington, NZ

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