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 Post subject: Saint-Saëns - Symphony No.3 in C minor, Op.78 "Organ"
PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:58 pm 
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JOVE THE MIGHTY THUNDERER
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Symphony No. 3 in C minor Op.78, "Organ"
Adagio - Allegro moderato
Poco adagio
Allegro moderato - Presto
Maestoso - Allegro

The Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op. 78, was completed by Camille Saint-Saëns in 1886 at what was probably the artistic zenith of his career. It is also popularly known as the Organ Symphony, even though it is not a true symphony for organ, but simply an orchestral symphony where two sections out of four use the pipe organ. Though it is frequently listed, even on record and CD covers, as a symphony for orchestra "and organ", the composer inscribed it as: Symphonie No. 3 "avec orgue" (with organ).

Of composing the work Saint-Saëns said "I gave everything to it I was able to give. What I have here accomplished, I will never achieve again." The composer seemed to know it would be his last attempt at the symphonic form, and he wrote the work almost as a type of "history" of his own career: virtuoso piano passages, brilliant orchestral writing characteristic of the Romantic period, and the sound of a cathedral-sized pipe organ.

The symphony was commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Society in England, and the first performance was given in London on 19 May 1886, at St James's Hall, conducted by the composer. After the death of his friend Franz Liszt on 31 July 1886, Saint-Saëns dedicated the work to Liszt's memory. The composer also conducted the French premiere in January 1887.

More at Wikipedia...
More at Musicweb...


Filling in another pop-classic hole in the orchestral index! Here is a rendition complete in one video from Barenboim and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra...




Another video, broken down by movement, from the BBC Proms from Myung-Whun Chung and the Radio France Philharmonic...
Click button to:





Enjoy! Any comments etc welcome.

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 Post subject: Re: Saint-Saëns - Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op.78 "Organ"
PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 3:07 am 
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Rod,

You picked the audio demo piece of all time. You choices of performances were excellent especially the Chung in Royal Albert Hall which indeed makes a joyful noise. However a favorite of mine is the BSO with Charles Munch which has been released as SACD on the RCA label. Here is a YT representation:








Enjoy and thanks for your choice of this piece for discussion.

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 Post subject: Re: Saint-Saëns - Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op.78 "Organ"
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 5:57 pm 
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2nd LIEUTENANT
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I have enjoyed Barenboim, Munch and Fremaux in this lively if unsubtle symphony.
This is despite living opposite someone in far off student days who used to just play the start of the finale over and over again.

Daughter used to enjoy the symphony as a consequence of the film Babe which used the big tune in the finale.

Best wishes,

Adam


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 Post subject: Re: Saint-Saëns - Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op.78 "Organ"
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:24 pm 
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Saint-Säens---Symphony No 3 in C minor with Organ. Opus 78.

I am on very unfamiliar territory , knowing little of his music except for “The Carnival of the Animals” to which I was introduced in my schooldays. So this has been a voyage of discovery.

Thankyou, TMT and Digiti for the sample videos which you attached.

!) Chicago Symphony Orchestra, with Bareboim conducting. It began with swirls of sound and subdued excitement. After that we experienced a little of everything---rather like a liquorice allsorts assortment! Instruments surfaced in their turn, piano passages came and went, some good brass and woodwind, strings---particularly the deeper ones like cello and bass had some importance, timpani now and again, and of course the organ! Larger encompassing sounds were balanced with smooth quiet passages. At first the organ’s entry was unobtrusive and merely gave depth to the music---you were left wondering whether you had really heard organ sound or only imagined it.

Midway, at 22 minutes, there was a contrast of tempo and mood, with busy hurrying, some nice flute and a lighter touch. The last movement had a more important air with strident melodies in places. The organ asserted itself with strong chords, together with orchestra and timpani and it built up to a thrilling climax for the final.

Saint-Säen’s symphony is to my mind atmospheric and mood music. In the colours he paints I can see why he is compared to Mendelssohn.I can’t help likening this symphony as descriptive of the course a river takes. Visually, pictures come to my mind, of the drama and danger of the rapids, deep quiet pools, fast flowing shallows and smooth stretches all alternating as the river (music) flows along!

I will try not to be repetitive when covering the attached samples, but I am hamstrung by my lack of musical expertise and terms, and have to rely on my reactions as I jot down quick notes!

2) Myung Whun Chung & the Radio France Symphony Orchestra.

Mov.1.Textures within the music are good and the photography is excellent. It adds an extra dimension for me to see the instrumentalists in action!

Mov.2. A smooth stronger melody with slow rich colour. Subdued organ added to the orchestra---tonally pleasing.

Mov. 3. A feeling of quick movement, and unease, with timpani and frenzied orchestral sound; piano inserts, bursts of brass and woodwind all becoming important in their turn.

Mov. 4. Opens with strong organ chords between instrumental music. The orchestra then has a quieter interlude with a trickling piano. The organ continues with strong statements— together with brass. Everything builds up to an exciting finish, with the organ taking a dominant part.

No wonder the organ seemed to be played so sympathetically in this rendition as I caught sight of the organist—it was Olivier Latry! I liked this video as the sound was so vivid and alive.

3) Digiti’s choice---Charles Munch & the BSO.

The orchestral sound was smooth with good contrasts emerging, some strong sounds and some drama.

In the 2nd mov the melody was haunting and and the sound was enriched with the underlying organ role, giving it depth.

The 3rd mov. was bright and disruptive, and the piano had some fast passages.

In the 4th movement the organ entered strongly and had a major role, with strong reverberating chords punctuating the orchestral input. This all built up to an exciting finish.
There was a sophistication of approach and performance with this rendition. The musical colour was excellent.

Accidentally, I stumbled upon another performance which I have bookmarked and mean to play. It is Jun Mârkel and the MDR Orchestra performing in a church setting, so the acoustics are different from the Concerthall. The little that I have sampled sounds vividly alive and the ”icing on the cake” for me, is the excellent filming of the instrumentalists. I am looking forward to having a session with this video performance. And will be most interested in seeing how the very different venue affects the contribution of the organ.

Regards,

Polly


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 Post subject: Re: Saint-Saëns - Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op.78 "Organ"
PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 9:04 pm 
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2nd LIEUTENANT
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A number of recordings have actually been made in 2 venues with the tapes merged in the mixing room. I know that Karajan's performance had this and I'm fairly sure several other performances had the same thing, but can't remember which.


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 Post subject: Re: Saint-Saëns - Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op.78 "Organ"
PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 9:14 pm 
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Phlogiston wrote:
A number of recordings have actually been made in 2 venues with the tapes merged in the mixing room. I know that Karajan's performance had this and I'm fairly sure several other performances had the same thing, but can't remember which.

A ridiculous state of affairs to my mind. However it could be construed as a flaw in the music if the producers believed they couldn't find a single venue for which the piece could be played to satisfactory effect? (my comments on the music will still arrive in due course!)

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 Post subject: Re: Saint-Saëns - Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op.78 "Organ"
PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:14 am 
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Some recordings are recorded with the organ in the same venue as the orchestra such as the Munch in Boston and the Ormandy on Telarc with Michael Murray organist in a cathedral. Others dub in the organ parts from a separately recorded tract later as mentioned above. This is because some concert halls do not have a suitable pipe organ or would have to resort to the use of an electronic organ as a poor substitute. This same problem can be found in the symphonies of Mahler i.e. Symphony #2 and #8. This has nothing to do with the intrinsic value of the symphony as a composition.

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 Post subject: Re: Saint-Saëns - Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op.78 "Organ"
PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:54 pm 
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Digiti wrote:
Some recordings are recorded with the organ in the same venue as the orchestra such as the Munch in Boston and the Ormandy on Telarc with Michael Murray organist in a cathedral. Others dub in the organ parts from a separately recorded tract later as mentioned above. This is because some concert halls do not have a suitable pipe organ or would have to resort to the use of an electronic organ as a poor substitute. This same problem can be found in the symphonies of Mahler i.e. Symphony #2 and #8. This has nothing to do with the intrinsic value of the symphony as a composition.

The solution is simple, record them all at St James's Hall!

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 Post subject: Re: Saint-Saëns - Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op.78 "Organ"
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:58 am 
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I have been meaning to post a further reply re the Saint Säens Symphony No 3 in C minor for several days, but life seemed to get extremely busy! I’m sorry about the delay, as it was to follow on from the video I mentioned that I was looking forward to listening to in my last post.

In the meantime life has continued and other members have made their comments. The video in question was of the complete Symphony performed by the MDR Symphonieorchester (of Leipzig), conducted by Jun Märkel, in the Catholic Cathedral at Kaliningrad, Western Russia.

I liked this performance, which was slower than usual, but needed to be so, because of the acoustics of the building. The orchestral sound was good and the slower pace meant that features unnoticed when performed faster were able to be noticed and appreciated.

In the second movement the introduction of the organ was pleasing with its unobtrusive swelling supporting the orchestral role. The rich, Romantic voicing of this organ really comes into play in the final movement. Its volume climaxed to a mighty sound without ever becoming strident. Whether it was the warm acoustical effect of this lofty building, or the voicing of the organ, I felt that it blended into the orchestral music very pleasingly.

This performance was skilfully filmed showing the venue, the orchestra, conductor, organist and organs to good effect. It added to my enjoyment of the whole.



[


I was left very curious about many things after my first listening, and so proceeded to browse with the aid of Google. The conductor interested me and I discovered that he had a German violinist father and a Japanese pianist mother. With this musical background he began studying when very young and had a promising beginning, studying piano and violin, and then added conducting, under Sergei Celibidache. He was later tutored also by Leonard Bernstein and Seiji Osawa.

Kaliningrad was formerly Königsberg in north-eastern Prussia until the Russian Forces reached there in 1945. The central city had already been razed by RAF fire bombing and the devastation was completed by the Army’s advance and subsequent occupation. The mediaeval Catholic Cathedral was a ruin, without roof or vaults, a photograph of which reminded me of the ruins of Coventry Cathedral, my own home city.

More recently the Russian authorities rebuilt the Cathedral but it is no longer a church and is used as a concerthall.The question of replacing the organ arose and this has been a co-operative affair with local craftsmen building the case, of the main organ in a style reminiscent of the previous organ. The pipes and mechanism were constructed by Matthias Schuke of the German organbuilring firm of Alexander Schuk,(Potsdam). This organ is sited on the west wall where its magnificence can be fully appreciated. The console is centrally placed just above the decorative oval feature, and is screened by delicate wrought ironwork---a rather lofty perch for the organist.

A choir organ, with an elegantly simple façade was also constructed and this is placed on the south wall, with the console and organist position at floor level. In this video the organist is performing on the choir organ, which is close to the orchestra , and obviously, from the volume is linked to the main organ , too. Artem (Artyom) Khachaturov is the performer and he is also the main organist for cathedral organs. Both organs are linked electronically and can be played together or separately.

I found an excellent reference to the Kaliningrad organs in an article, dated January 2010, where on the 4th paragraph of this page,in the last but one line, the word here is underlined---click on it and you will access Benjamin Saunders article from “Choir & Organ” at -------->

http://www.directorofmusic.org/news.htm

It is an account in full and covers the history of the area and detail about the organs and the cathedral housing them. A most interesting and informative article.

Well, my curiosity led me into many byways but it has made me appreciate the circumstances surrounding this performance, as well as the music.

Enjoy!

Regards,

Polly.


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 Post subject: Re: Saint-Saëns - Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op.78 "Organ"
PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:01 am 
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When idly browsing I came across a performance of Saint Säens “Organ”Concerto. Although we have had examples attached already I listened to it with interest as it was directed by Myung-Whun Chung, who’d earlier featured in the video of the Proms performance with a French orchestra.

In this performance he is directing the Royal Concertgebouw., of Amsterdam with Leo van Doeselaar playing the organ.
It is rendered with a lighter touch and flows along melodiously and with clarity. The parts of various instruments are clearly defined and the various layers can be easily unravelled.

I liked this rendition for its brilliance of tone, lack of heaviness, and the way instruments are allowed to come forth in their turn- ie. stirngs, brass, woodwinds and organ---with a dollop of timpani, too! It has nice movement, is alive and is not without its drama.

Infact I like it very much. I have failed in my attempts to attach a video , and for that omission I apologise.

Enjoy.

Regards,

Polly.


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 Post subject: Re: Saint-Saëns - Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op.78 "Organ"
PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:55 pm 
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Dear Polly,

Is this the Chung performance you referred to?:


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 Post subject: Re: Saint-Saëns - Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op.78 "Organ"
PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:21 pm 
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Dear Digiti,
A thousand blessings on your head!!!.Yes, that is the video that I was unsuccessfully trying to attach last night. I can't understand why the video on IE and Chrome failed ( I was using FF for CMM,) I explained to Rod that the URLs within the YouTubes didn't activate when posted and alternately the URLS alone weren't active. Something very odd was happening with my computer for a couple hours or so---did you hear me grinding my teeth?!!!
I long for my years of Windows XP when I could bring up several screens without losing any and things seem comparitively stable. Ah well when my present system works well it is excellent but it is all very primadonna-ish and I'm no computer geek!
Never mind---the gremlins had their fun and a CMM Knight Errant rescued the damsel (ie. old lady!) in distress!
Many thanks for your help. Have you listened---and what did you think of it? I thought that it was a lovely rendition.
Kindest regards,
Polly.


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 Post subject: Re: Saint-Saëns - Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op.78 "Organ"
PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:56 pm 
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Dear Polly,

I am always happy to help a lady[damsel] in distress. I have not heard the selection yet.

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 Post subject: Re: Saint-Saëns - Symphony No.3 in C minor, Op.78 "Organ"
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:43 am 
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The organ symphony is a wonderfull symphony. I have I think only two recordings of which the better one is in a box of the complete symphonies. Wether it is neccessary to owe the complete symphonies I don't know. The organ symphony is certainly the best symphony Saint Saens has written. Does anybody know and appreciate the other symponies of Saint Saens? He has written as a matter of fact 5 symphonies, 3 numbered and 2 not numbered.

Regards Florestan


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 Post subject: Re: Saint-Saëns - Symphony No.3 in C minor, Op.78 "Organ"
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:50 pm 
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The ones known as "1" and "2" are pleasant, but I haven't listened to them for years!

Adam


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