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Saint-Saëns: Complete Works for Piano Box set


Price: CDN$ 24.01 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 8 2008)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 5
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Vox (Classical)
  • ASIN: B00008X5B5
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #73,995 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

Product Description

Amazon.ca

This series of Saint-Saëns' piano music, recorded in 1974, will be of interest to the composer's admirers, but it's not likely to win any awards. Most of the music consists of glittering generalities, with few memorable moments and a lot of padding. Saint-Saëns had inspirations, but he didn't waste many of them on his solo piano music. In the few cases when a piece has become familiar, we can tell that Dosse's performances are mostly just adequate, seldom exciting or insightful. She gets around the keys well enough, and the last of the Six Etudes (based on the composer's own Fifth Piano Concerto) is pretty dazzling, but elsewhere she seems to be just going through the motions. The solo piano music, recorded by the wonderful Elite team of Nickrenz & Aubort, has splendid sound quality. But the duets, recorded in Stuttgart, sound boxy and flat--except for "Carnival of the Animals," with the sparkling chamber orchestra. This certainly isn't a bad set, but it's only a compelling purchase for lovers of this composer who can't get enough of his piano music. Well, now they can. --Leslie Gerber

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By A Customer on May 20 2004
Format: Audio CD
Saint-Saens didn't believe that music must express deep emotion to be worthwhile. He was more interested in beautiful surfaces than in profundity. The composer's aesthetic, which might be described as "decorative," justifies certain limitations and is not all that different from Milhaud's or Poulenc's, although the musical idiom is more 19th century than 20th century.
Because this is a "complete works" set of CDs, the quality of the compositions is predictably uneven. Several of the many pieces included are too protracted, formulaic and even dull, but few are without any interest. Almost all seem impersonal and dispassionate. That said, much of the music is lovely, frequently colorful and occasionally dazzling. Saint-Saens piano writing is almost always transparent, elegant, ironic and wry. Some pieces, like the Scherzo for Two Pianos (which is organized as a palindrome), the Valse Gaie and the Etude en Forme de Valse, are stunning mixtures of modern musical language and traditional gestures. There is truly no other music like this.
Admirers of French music are fortunate that Vox decided to reissue these performances, which range from adequate to excellent.
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Format: Audio CD
I AM LISTENING TO THE FOURTH OF FIVE CDS PLAYED ON THE PIANO BY FRENCH WOMEN MARYLENE DOSSE AND ANNIE PETIT. THEY ARE EXCELLENT ESCAPISMS. I DON'T KNOW ONE FROM THE OTHER, BUT JUST LAY BACK ON A SULTRY DAY AND ENJOY.
I THOUGHT I MAY HAVE DUPLICATED SAINT-SAENS COMPLETE WORKS FOR PIANO AND ORCHESTRA BY SAKARI ORAMO UNDER STEPHEN HOUGH OF THE CITY OF BIRMINGHAM ORCHESTRA, BUT THAT IS NOT THE CASE. WITH VOX I GOT 5 CDS AT HALF THE PRICE OF THE HOUGH TWO CDS. SO THE SELECTIONS AREN'T FAMILIAR. WHO NEEDS MORE OF THE SAME?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Proto-Modern Music May 20 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Saint-Saens didn't believe that music must express deep emotion to be worthwhile. He was more interested in beautiful surfaces than in profundity. The composer's aesthetic, which might be described as "decorative," justifies certain limitations and is not all that different from Milhaud's or Poulenc's, although the musical idiom is more 19th century than 20th century.

Because this is a "complete works" set of CDs, the quality of the compositions is predictably uneven. Several of the many pieces included are too protracted, formulaic and even dull, but few are without any interest. Almost all seem impersonal and dispassionate. That said, much of the music is lovely, frequently colorful and occasionally dazzling. Saint-Saens' piano writing is almost always transparent, elegant, ironic and wry. Some pieces, like the Scherzo for Two Pianos (which is organized as a palindrome), the Valse Gaie and the Etude en Forme de Valse, are stunning mixtures of modern musical language and traditional gestures. There is truly no other music like this.

Admirers of French music are fortunate that Vox decided to reissue these performances, which range from adequate to excellent.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Apollo AND Dionysus Aug. 6 2008
By Dace Gisclard - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is delightful stuff! Nothing "profound" here (what a dreadful sin, Mr. Gerber!) but plenty of this composer's mix of the playful and the intellectual. True, there are a few pieces (the fugues and some of the more mechanically-oriented etudes) that are academic note-spinning, but there's lots more that aren't. It's perfectly OK to like and enjoy this kind of elegant fluff--does EVERYTHING have to be a heaven-storming masterpiece? People who think that miss an awful lot. If you like Bizet (but don't expect Carmen!) and Chabrier, this will appeal to you.

Saint-Saens was one of the greatest pianists of his time, and certainly knew his way around a keyboard. Marylene Dosse has the technique and temperament to do this music justice. The remastered analog sound is NOT terrible--perhaps a bit shallow and not state of the art digital, but quite easily listenable. I certainly don't hear the "bumps and pops" alluded to by another reviewer--can't imagine what's going on there.

Highlights of the set that I particularly enjoy: the two-piano Beethoven Variations on the trio of the menuet of the Piano Sonata Op.31 No.3 (the pianos sound in tune to me, although someone with perfect pitch might find them a few cents off!); the Allegro appassionato and the Etude en forme de valse--two standard classics that every lover of French piano music should know; the transcription and abridgement for piano solo of the first movement of Piano Concerto No.3 (with the orchestral parts absorbed into the piano); the last of the Etudes Op.111 where the composer reworks material from his Piano Concerto No.5 into a brilliant toccata.

At this price, this set is a steal, and, as Mr. Crawford said, a nice companion for the piano concertos (I'm particularly fond of Collard--Hough is a bit too much of a speed demon on the autobahn, looking neither to the right nor left to see the beauties just within sight.)
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Marylene Dosse truly makes the piano sparkle Dec 5 2007
By Matthew - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is a collection rare to come across: the complete piano works by Saint-Saens. As a native of France, Ms. Dosse accomplishes the nearly impossible task of recording the entirety of this difficult french repertoire. Her masterful understand of the music is apparently throughout every piece and her musicality extends far past that of many of the great pianists. In addition to the extraordinary playing, the set is marvelously priced. This is a set to add to your collection.
A very good recording. Feb. 25 2014
By Parviz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I like Saint-Saens music and the recordings met my expectations. But of course I love Saint-Saens music! The recording is also very fine.
Saint-Saens at his best Feb. 3 2013
By BarClay - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It's a shame that I had to wait this long to hear this music. As a pianist, I have been exposed to many of the best known and lesser known piano works by famous composers, but I had never seen or heard these works before this recording. These works are melodic, inventive, and superbly played. Marylene Dosse (sometimes joined by Annie Petit) demonstrate the power, clearness of touch, and sensitivity that one would expect from better known pianists. This CD is a wonderful find, and I heartily recommend it.


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