Artist: Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Neeme Jarvi
Title: Saint-Saëns: Cello Concertos Nos. 1 & 2; The Carnival of the Animals; Africa; Wedding-cake
Genre: Classical
Release Date: 2016
Duration: 01:15:17
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz
Label: Chandos

The Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and Neeme Jrvi present this unusual collection of popular works by Saint-Sans, for orchestra and piano or cello.

Truls Mrk, this season Artist in Residence with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, is the soloist in the two contrasted cello concertos. His ‘seemingly flawless technical command’ is tested in the suave, expressive, famous No. 1 as well as in the many taxing solo passages, huge leaps, and double-stopping flourishes of No. 2.

The indefatigable duo Louis Lortie and Hlne Mercier join in the posthumously published Carnival of the Animals, after a highly successful recording of Concertos by Poulenc with Edward Gardner, Disc of the Week in The Sunday Times. They offer the original version, which features a glass harmonica (normally substituted by a glockenspiel). Louis Lortie is also the soloist in the entertaining fantasia Africa, which incorporates folk tunes of the different countries in which it was composed and which is brought off with consummate zest, as well as in the most characteristic and probably challenging of the composer’s keyboard pieces, the Caprice-Valse Wedding-cake, written for the second wedding of the composer’s virtuosic pianist friend Caroline Montigny-Rmaury.

[Mrk’s] noble command is ideal in the darkly blazing, virtuosic second concerto. One of our great lyric instrumentalists, he gives a deeply-felt, but never over-dramatised performance, a piercing tenderness underlying what can sound sentimental in the hands of a lesser artist. Bergen’s beautifully-tuned winds create subtle intimacy in the idyllic Andante – BBC Music Magazine March 2016

This is one of those recordings where it seems invidious to look for faults and which just encourages you to sit back, relax, listen and wallow. Mrk brings his characteristic incisiveness and mountain-spring tone to the concertos…The Grande fantaisie zoologique receives one of its most successful performances on disc (sans narrator) with just the right balance of instrumental virtuosity, sensitive musicianship and, where the opportunity presents itself, fun. – Gramophone Magazine January 2016


  1. Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Op. 33: I. Allegro non troppo – [ ] – Tempo I – Animato – Allegro molto – Tempo I – – 6:01
  2. Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Op. 33: II. Allegretto con moto – [Cadenza] – [ ] – – 5:06
  3. Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Op. 33: Tempo I – Un peu moins vite – Più allegro comme le Premier Mouvement – Molto allegro – 9:11
  4. Cello Concerto No. 2 in D minor, Op. 119: I. Allegro moderato e maestoso – Andante sostenuto (Le double plus lent) – Più mosso – Tempo I – 11:44
  5. Cello Concerto No. 2 in D minor, Op. 119: II. Allegro non troppo – Cadenza ad libitum – Mouvement du Premier Morceau – Molto allegro – 6:27
  6. Le Carnaval des animaux: I. Introduction et Marche royale du Lion. Andante maestoso – Allegro non troppo – Più allegro – – 2:05
  7. Le Carnaval des animaux: II. Poules et Coqs. Allegro – Animato – – 0:41
  8. Le Carnaval des animaux: III. Hémiones (Animaux véloces). Presto furioso – – 0:37
  9. Le Carnaval des animaux: IV. Tortues. Andante maestoso – – 1:43
  10. Le Carnaval des animaux: V. L’Éléphant. Allegretto pomposo – – 1:24
  11. Le Carnaval des animaux: VI. Kangourous. Moderato – – 0:54
  12. Le Carnaval des animaux: VII. Aquarium. Andantino – – 2:18
  13. Le Carnaval des animaux: VIII. Personnages à longues oreilles. Tempo ad libitum – – 0:49
  14. Le Carnaval des animaux: IX. Le Coucou au fond des bois. Andante – – 2:08
  15. Le Carnaval des animaux: X. Volière. Moderato grazioso – – 1:21
  16. Le Carnaval des animaux: XI. Pianistes. Allegro moderato – – 1:15
  17. Le Carnaval des animaux: XII. Fossiles. Allegro ridicolo – – 1:15
  18. Le Carnaval des animaux: XIII. Le Cygne. Andantino grazioso – – 2:33
  19. Le Carnaval des animaux: XIV. Finale. Molto allegro – 2:02
  20. Caprice-Valse in A flat major, Op. 76 ‘Wedding-cake’: Vivace e grazioso – 5:58
  21. Fantaisie for Piano and Orchestra in G minor, Op. 89 ‘Africa’: Molto allegro – Cadenza ad libitum – A tempo – Stringendo – Andante espressivo – Allegro – Meno allegro – Tranquillo – Animato – Molto allegro (Tempo I) – Animato – 9:55