Pizzicato: Exzellenter Saint-Saëns aus Salt Lake City

by Remy Franck


Camille Saint-Saëns tolerates no puffiness, no lofty interpretations. Especially compositions such as the ‘Trois Poèmes symphoniques’ from the incidental music for Eugène Brieux’ play ‘La foi’, which are not often performed, require a great deal of sensitivity to make an impact. Thierry Fischer shows himself to be very inspired, and together with his well-orchestrated orchestra he lifts this music to the higher level, at least in the first two pieces.

The ‘Danse Bacchanale’ from the third act of ‘Samson et Dalila’ creates the conductor with a sure sense of style.

In the Third Symphony, Fischer evidently wants to make the French composer appear more un-pathetic than is often the case. The conductor is probably very lively, but less emphatic or heated music, as one is used to from other interpretations. In doing so, he effectively distributes the forces and works out the architecture of the work with impressive transparency. As differentiated as here, the third symphony can not be heard often.

The first movement, wonderfully differentiated, sounds quite vital, yet it is nowhere covered, that is, it is actually very logical and natural. The second movement is not only breathed wide, it is also very intimate and warm music. The subsequent Allegro moderato is played very excitingly and with verve, less sporty, but more ecstatic and, above all, more colorful than with other conductors.

The opulent, but also very well-structured final sentence pervades a fascinating drive.

The orchestra plays in all three works on a very high level and follows his chief conductor with sacred zeal. The sound is pleasantly proportioned and spatial, with a very natural integration of the organ sound in the orchestra music. And so, at the end of this new production, the reviewer looks very good and hopes to see another excellent Saint-Saëns series from Salt Lake City come to market after Marc Soustrot’s excellent Saint Saëns recordings on Naxos.

This first installment of the Utah Symphony’s Saint-Saëns-series is extremely successful. Thierry Fischer has the measure and the taste to let this music blossom at its best. The impact is all the greater due to the conductor’s total natural feeling and thus, any lack of exaggeration.

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