Raphaela Gromes & Saint-Saëns - Symphony 3 “Organ symphony”
Ottorino Respighi, Preludio, corale e fuga
Camille Saint-Saëns, Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Op. 33
Camille Saint-Saëns, Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op. 78, “Organ Symphony”
The Preludio, corale e fuga was the final exam composition by the Italian composer Ottorino Respighi at the Liceo Musicale di Bologna. The work is also the fruit of some lessons in composition that Respighi received from Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Both composers met in St. Petersburg, where Respighi worked for several months as a Konzertmeister at the orchestra of the Russian Imperial Theatre. The jury’s comment on Respighi’s final exam in Bologna? “Respighi is not a pupil, but a master!”
If there was one thing at which the young Camille Saint-Saëns excelled, it was writing concertos. When he started his Cello Concerto No. 1 in 1872, at the age of 37, he already had three piano concertos and two violin concertos to his name. Influenced by Liszt, Saint-Saëns wrote a cello concerto in a single movement, the opening material of which is cyclical. “Form is the essence of art,” he once pronounced, “and virtuosity gives a composer the wings to soar high above the mundane and the hackneyed.”
Some ten years later, Camille Saint-Saëns was hailed in England as the greatest living French composer. He wrote his Symphony No. 3 at the request of the Royal Philharmonic Society. In this composition, the ingenious use of keyboard instruments is particularly striking: besides the piano (two-hands and four-hands), the organ also plays an extremely important role. Camille Saint-Saëns dedicated Symphony No. 3 to his recently deceased friend Franz Liszt and based his musical material on the Gregorian melody of the Dies irae, the sequence from the Liturgy of the Dead.
Roberto González-Monjas, conductor
Raphaela Gromes, cello
Pierre Liemans, organ
Highly sought-after as a conductor and violinist, Roberto González-Monjas is rapidly making a mark on the international scene.