I have never liked mixes with too much emphasis on the piano. While EMI's final result is far from the best recordings, it is far from atrocious, as some "ears" seem to point out in earlier reviews.
I will keep this review brief: it's more a written reaction from listening to this set straight through, five concertos in a row (and two extra pieces), nearly every time I play the discs. It is as if I must listen from the beginning to the end, like a well orchestrated, well organized, well plotted programmatic music album. And this is only, in part, due to Collard's fantastic playing -- there are two accidental "wrong-notes" in the whole set which *was* a slight disappointment, until I realized that I wanted a performance, not a digitally edited reconstruction.
The credit for this music goes to Mr. Saint-Saens! The man was extraordinary, sublime, luminous, and these pieces remind me of the painted films of Mr. Brakhage...whose pieces are shown silent usually...and I don't wonder, somehow, if there is really some connection, here...between humans who are less grounded, and more in tune with something higher...
The piano concerto is my favorite form of classical expression. I own many (not enough) concertos and while I find myself playing a little Rachmaninoff here and there, I will explore Saint-Saens' five concertos all in one sitting, nearly every time.
Bravo Collard et Previn!