Sunday, October 10, 2010

Saint-Saens - Symphony No.3 in C Minor, Op.78 - Murray, Ormandy, Philadelphia Orchestra







I can pay no higher compliment to this performance by Ormandy, the Philadelphians and Telarc than to say, that this is the only performance that is as perfect and as moving as the Charles Munch/Boston Symphony Orchestra RCA performance from 1959. That CD has the well-earned status as the benchmark of perfection in performance, even after forty years. I've probably owned a dozen recordings of this symphony and this is the one I invariably come back to, along with the one by Charles Munch. However, this one is soCamille Saint-Saëns. splendidly recorded, I believe it is an essential recording. Ormandy gives one of his last & greatest performances, and the Philadelphians clearly want to leave him a legacy, pulling all of the emotional depth present in the Munch/Boston/RCA release. Murray proves why he has earned so much respect as an organist & interpreter of French Organ repertoire. This recording is a little unique in that the recording space sounds quite large, and it has a little more reverberation than most, but Telarc did a magnificent job in being able to pick up so much detail. I cannot say enough about the detail of the woodwinds they achieve while still capturing the Philadelphia Orchestra's famed string (and brass) sections. The only possible way it could be any better is that the fast piano runs in the last scherzo are just a tad more faint than in most recordings due to the reverberation & recording space, but that is an extremely minor flaw compared to the richness of detail found all over this recording. The adagio of this symphony alone is worth the price of this disc. Ormandy, like Munch plumbs the depths of aching, of deep longing & the eventual ecstatic peace that make the adagio as admired as anything written by Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Brahms or Mahler. I really believe that any of them would have been deeply moved if they heard this peace, and of course Mahler certainly did, and must have admired it deeply! Saint-Saens himself admitted, sincerely & quite humbly, after finishing this symphony, that he could do no more. He had achieved perfection, and Ormandy, Murray & the Philadelphians have paid tribute to Saint-Saens by doing the same.--Amazon


ape, scans


  1. The 4th and final file will not download from FileFactory. Repeated attempts.

    "Unfortunately we have encountered a problem locating your file. You way wish to contact the owner / uploader of the file to get it re-uploaded again."

  2. The earlier problem appears to have been with FileFactory.

    I must say, though I am not generally a huge fan of Eugene Ormandy, this is, perhaps, the finest performance I have heard of the Saint-Saens' 3rd. Some classical reviewers suggest the Ormandy recording on RCA is the one to get after Munch/Boston, but I found this Telarc performance to be superbly and meticulously performed and stunningly recorded in a venue with ideal acoustics. Very highly recommended, and many thanks for sharing!



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