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Pno Ctos Comp


Price: CDN$ 32.95
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 15 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: EMI Classics
  • ASIN: B00000JQXY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #154,635 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Piano Concerto No.1 in D, Op.17: I Andante - Allegro assai
2. Piano Concerto No.1 in D, Op.17: II Andante sostenuto quasi adagio
3. Piano Concerto No.1 in D, Op.17: III Allegro con fuoco
4. Piano Concerto No.2 In G Minor, Op.22: I Andante sostenuto
5. Piano Concerto No.2 In G Minor, Op.22: II Allegro scherzando
6. Piano Concerto No.2 In G Minor, Op.22: III Presto
7. Piano Concerto No.4 In C Minor, Op.44: I Allegro moderato - Andante
8. Piano Concerto No.4 In C Minor, Op.44: II Allegro vivace - Andante - Allegro
Disc: 2
1. Piano Concerto No.3 In E Flat, Op. 29: I Moderato assai-Piu mosso (Allegro maestoso)
2. Piano Concerto No.3 In E Flat, Op. 29: II Andante
3. Piano Concerto No.3 In E Flat, Op. 29: III Allegro non troppo
4. Piano Concerto No.5 In F, Op.103: I Allegro animato
5. Piano Concerto No.5 In F, Op.103: II Andante-Allegretto tranquillo quasi andantino
6. Piano Concerto No.5 In F, Op.103: III Molto allegro
7. 'Wedding Cake' - Caprice-Valse, Op. 76
8. 'Africa' Fantaisie, Op. 89

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

By A Customer on Aug. 6 2000
Format: Audio CD
Saint-Saens' set of Piano Concerti are relatively little known but consistently rewarding nevertheless. Listeners familiar only with the popular Second Concerto need not worry that the other concerti deserve their relative neglect. On the contrary, all of these concerti are remarkable for their high level of melodic invention, with Saint-Saens' gift for turning out haunting, ear-tickling melody abundantly in evidence. There is nothing stuffy nor trite about the writing, either. Moreover, these are concerti written for pianists by a pianist: the piano writing demonstrates an understanding and love for the piano that only a pianist could possess. All in all, I would say these works rank in quality at least with Tchaikovsky's Second and Third Concerti.
These recordings seem pretty hard to beat. Collard makes the very best use of his musicality and virtuosity without becoming self-promoting. Previn, always a highly sympathetic accompanist, is at his best here. The sound ranges from very good to excellent.
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By Ryan Richards on Oct. 18 2000
Format: Audio CD
Saint-Saens' piano music embodies all that is good about the Romantic era: long, haunting melodic lines, innovative themes and a particular gift for making the music fit together in a quasi-Classical fashion. That said, I can't say enough good things about the playing on this CD. Collard's performance is so virtuostic and effortless that the music sounds as though it's just coming out of thin air, rather than having a human laboring over it. Match this with the awesomely powerful yet extremely skilled orchestral backing from Previn and the RPO, and you have a CD that got me into Saint-Saens even though I'd heard almost nothing by him before. This CD set will make you pay attention to it. Worth every penny.
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By Alex Vox on June 26 2004
Format: Audio CD
Well, as for me it is BY FAR the best CD of concert piano music that I have! The multiplication of Collard and Saint Saens brings me back to Paris. It full with traditions and crispiness. The music is so deep, sensitive and powerful, very humane very real, as a live. If you want to REDEFINE your enjoyment from music take this CD. There're few such wonderful pieces of audible human genius exist.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By "eloquenceshall" on May 27 2004
Format: Audio CD
I consider myself quite an experienced listener.
The recordings found on this disc are of average performance. The lacking value is that EMI has decided to "degrade" the recording performance, and thus the high tones are cut out.
The piano sounds as if it was recording from inside a closet, while the orchestra sounds as if it was recorded farthest from the row in a stadium.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 8 reviews
37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant Oct. 18 2000
By Ryan Richards - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Saint-Saens' piano music embodies all that is good about the Romantic era: long, haunting melodic lines, innovative themes and a particular gift for making the music fit together in a quasi-Classical fashion. That said, I can't say enough good things about the playing on this CD. Collard's performance is so virtuostic and effortless that the music sounds as though it's just coming out of thin air, rather than having a human laboring over it. Match this with the awesomely powerful yet extremely skilled orchestral backing from Previn and the RPO, and you have a CD that got me into Saint-Saens even though I'd heard almost nothing by him before. This CD set will make you pay attention to it. Worth every penny.
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Musical and Pianistic brilliance Aug. 6 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Saint-Saens' set of Piano Concerti are relatively little known but consistently rewarding nevertheless. Listeners familiar only with the popular Second Concerto need not worry that the other concerti deserve their relative neglect. On the contrary, all of these concerti are remarkable for their high level of melodic invention, with Saint-Saens' gift for turning out haunting, ear-tickling melody abundantly in evidence. There is nothing stuffy nor trite about the writing, either. Moreover, these are concerti written for pianists by a pianist: the piano writing demonstrates an understanding and love for the piano that only a pianist could possess. All in all, I would say these works rank in quality at least with Tchaikovsky's Second and Third Concerti.
These recordings seem pretty hard to beat. Collard makes the very best use of his musicality and virtuosity without becoming self-promoting. Previn, always a highly sympathetic accompanist, is at his best here. The sound ranges from very good to excellent.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Stellar Feb. 24 2005
By Christopher - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
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!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Glittering and Seductive Aug. 6 2008
By Dace Gisclard - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I've heard Ciccolini's and Hough's sets of these concerti, but this is my favorite by a wide margin. Hough's has been highly praised elsewhere, and I certainly agree that his technique is astounding. He plays these concerti faster than anyone, and that is precisely my complaint. Hough seems so busy moving through these works at warp three hyperdrive that he takes just about NO time to stop and smell the roses--and there are plenty in this music.

Not that Collard is slow. He can glitter just well as Hough, but he also knows when to seduce--listen to the second theme of the scherzo of No.2--the way he and Previn teasingly hang on to a note just a microsecond before playfully plunging into the phrase itself. They don't make a big deal of this, and these performances are NOT "mannered," but the listener is drawn in, and the sensation is almost physical. This is only one instance of the felicities of agogics and phrasing in these performances.

It's just a pity this couldn't have been rounded out to a trio of CD's to include the Rapsodie d'Auvergne and Allegro appassionato also recorded by this team. I own both this set and Hough's, but I listen to this one a LOT more. Also, the price is certainly more attractive than Hyperion's, although for me that is NOT the issue.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Still a leading contender for this repertoire Aug. 1 2013
By I. Giles - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This set of performances was recorded in the late 1980s when the discs were issued separately. The most attractive one for collectors at that time was the coupling of concertos 2 and 4. Those two concertos have always been considered the strongest with memorable tunes and interesting use of the orchestra and they inevitably made the strongest coupling. The other three make for pleasant but less memorable experiences. These preferences are similar to the way that Saint Saens' violin concerto 3 dwarfs the popularity of his others and the symphony 3 dwarfs the rest of his symphonies, in each case the preferences reflect the compositional strength of the preferred works.

The current successfully re-mastered set of the Collard discs now offers the whole series of piano concertos priced at a lower level than either of the single discs which can still be bought separately from some suppliers. This is a very attractive proposition as, although there are obviously favoured works within the set, the less favoured works are still skilfully written and well worth the occasional airing which is now a more affordable option. The remastering has clarified textures and gives more sense of 'presence' with a good balance between the piano and orchestra.

As regards comparative performances, the Collard set is undoubtedly the most exciting complete set yet available with a very fulsome and open-hearted approach to the music making both pianistically and orchestrally. This, to give an idea of alternative approaches to this music, is in direct contrast with Rubinstein's concerto 2, for example, which is altogether more gentlemanly and refined but less exciting. Thibaudet also goes for a similarly more elegant and slightly cool Gallic approach in his coupling of 2 and 5. Casadesus, in his recording of concerto 4 with Bernstein, is simply larger than life and thrilling but very difficult to acquire these days.

Hough's approach falls somewhere in between all of these and is probably the main competitor with Collard for a boxed set. Hough's is a very virtuosic account with lots of speed but this is achieved without Collard's compensating dramatic weight. There is an arguable case that the music thus becomes a display of digital dexterity at the expense of musical satisfaction.

Such an approach as Hough's might suit all the works as a whole but tends to under-sell the more symphonic nature of the concerto 4 especially and the exciting concerto 2 which is constructed in three movements of increasing speed and drive. The important word here is 'drive' which also implies some dramatic weight. Bearing in mind the relative greater popularity and possible importance of the dramatically weightier concertos 2 and 4, it seems more appropriate to ensure the maximum effect with those two works especially. It is this dramatic weight applied to even the least of these concertos that makes Collard's set stand out as being particularly successful and will give him the possible edge over Hough for many collectors.

I would therefore suggest that this re-mastered and bargain priced set should be considered very seriously by future purchasers especially if an exciting performance of concertos 2 and 4 is the main priority and there is an interest in dramatic weight rather than a display of digital dexterity throughout the set.


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