CD reviews – Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts organ works by Poulenc & Saint-Saëns
Released earlier this month on the LPO Label was a CD featuring Poulenc's Organ Concerto and Saint-Saëns's Symphony No. 3 (Organ). The two works, recorded live in concert at Royal Festival Hall on 26 March 2014, are conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin with organist James O'Donnell. Here are the reviews of the disc so far ...
‘The Poulenc, in particular, gets a blistering performance.The Saint-Saëns plays a long game and rises to a suitably magniloquent ending. James O’Donnell, organist of Westminster Abbey, is master of the king of instruments’. (4 stars)
Richard Fairman, Financial Times, 14 November 2014
‘The Poulenc concerto is delivered here with a bright spikiness that took my breath away … Goodness, this is an edgy, exciting performance; the Allegro giocoso is characterised by gut-gouging string playing and the Andante moderato finds O’Donnell at his most persuasive and pellucid. The depth and range of colour picked up by this fine recording is simply marvellous.’
Dan Morgan, Music Web International, 16 November 2014
‘James O'Donnell's playing is faultless, capturing the [Poulenc’s] craziness, the lurching between raucous vaudeville and Gothic horror. This live recording is beautifully balanced, too; Yannick Nézet-Séguin's London Philharmonic strings clean, clear and incisive with nicely present, well-tuned timpani. It's a belter of a piece, and one which deserves space on the CD shelves of the most ardent organophobe. And this among the best modern recordings.’
Graham Rickson, The Arts Desk, 22 November 2014
‘Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s rapport with this orchestra is evident from his charged approach to the first movement of Saint-Saëns’s Third Symphony – not precluding a wistful charm in its second theme or stealthy understatement in the transition to the Adagio.’
Richard Whitehouse, International Record Review, December 2014 (not online)
‘From the first notes of the Poulenc Organ Concerto you know this is going to be good. And by the time you reach the finale of the Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony, well ...'
'As a celebration of the rechristening of the Royal Festival Hall's restored organ it could hardly be bettered.’
Andrew McGregor, BBC Radio 3's 'CD Review', 29 November 2014 (not online)
The CD is priced £9.99 and is available from the LPO website, the London Philharmonic Orchestra Box Office (020 7840 4242), all good CD outlets, and the Royal Festival Hall shop. Also available to download or stream online via iTunes, Spotify and others.