Composer: Charles Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer: Geneviève Laurenceau
Orchestra: Orchestre De Picardie
Conductor: Benjamin Lévy
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Size: 965 MB
01. Romance in C Major, Op. 48
Violin Concerto in A Major, Op. 20
02. I. Allegro
03. II. Andante espressivo
04. III. Tempo I
05. Romance in D-Flat Major, Op. 37
06. Caprice d’après l’Etude en forme de valse op. 52 n° 6 de Saint-Saëns
07. Fantaisie for violin and harp in A Major, Op. 124
08. La Muse et le Poète, Op. 132
The centenary of the death of Saint-Saëns has inspired French violinist Geneviève Laurenceau to create a programme of contrasts for her many-faceted instrument, which in her hands becomes both intimate and virtuosic, chamber music and concertante all in one. This Saint-Saëns memorial year is an invitation to the more adventurous spirits to explore some of his less familiar works. Among them is French violinist Geneviève Laurenceau, who has devised this album with herself as soloist as an extended poem of varied stanzas profiling “a rather different Saint-Saëns, whose warm and luminous elegance of style gives the instruments a singing voice – singing not only with virtuosity but with a profound sense of humanity”.
Other voices the violin encounters are the cello of Yan Levionnois (for La Muse et le poète, a kind of symphonic poem for duo), and the harp of Pauline Haas (in a little jewel, the Fantaisie for violin and harp). Further partners in this dialogue are the Orchestre de Picardie under the baton of Benjamin Levy (in the Violin Concerto No. 1, and the Romances Op. 37 and Op. 48).
As a double act of tribute from one violinist to another, Geneviève Laurenceau also gives us the pyrotechnics of Eugène Ysaÿe’s virtuoso Caprice, based on Saint-Saëns’s Étude en forme de valse Op. 52 No. 6. Ysaÿe was closely associated with Saint-Saëns, and gave the first performance of La Muse et le poète.
Geneviève Laurenceau presents all these rarely-heard works (covering the period from the late 1850s to 1910) with consummate mastery. She is completely at ease, generously outgoing in all musical partnerships and in every situation, from the most intimate moments to the height of symphonic ecstasy, as she shows “to what extent Saint-Saëns’s instrumental style is permeated by the voice, its theatricality and drama, and its often abrupt shifts of mood or character”. Clearly, for her this French repertoire is more than a passion: it is her musical mother tongue.