A Lesser Known Saint-Saëns

It may not be as famous as some of Saint-Saëns' other works but this still demands your attention.

Composer: Saint-Saëns
Repertoire: Symphony No.2; Cello Concerto No.2; et al.
Artists: Jérome Pernoo (cello), Orchestre de Bretagne/Nicolas Chalvin
Rating: 4/5

Genre: Orchestral
Label: Timpani 1C1116

Although Saint-Saëns’s most famous works are ubiquitous, he also wrote a vast amount of music that’s surprisingly little-known. His Symphony No.2, more radically creative in structure than No.3, sounds like Mendelssohn on speed – there’s much dazzling, acrobatic writing and it is light and full of fleetness. For an instrument usually best suited to sustained, elegiac writing, the cello has such virtuoso demands made on it in the Concerto No.2 that one wonders whether it might have sounded better on the violin; however, the admirable Pernoo comes through with flying colours, despite some forced tone.