Saint-Saëns: Complete Music for Organ

Saint-Saëns: Complete Music for Organ
Composer Camille Saint-Saëns
Artist Michele Savino organ
Format 4 CD
Cat. number 96219
EAN code 5028421962191
Release December 2021

Buy online

  • Buy at Amazon

Download & streams

  • Download at Spotify

Other buying options

About this release

The most complete collection ever issued of Saint-Saëns’s organ music: a newly recorded centenary tribute to the grand old man of 19th-century music, who rubbed shoulders with and aroused the admiration of colleagues from Berlioz to Ravel.

While himself no conventional kind of Christian believer, Saint-Saëns worked as a church organist for much of his prodigiously long life and career. While still a teenager he won the premier prix for organ at the Paris Conservatoire. In 1857, at the age of 22, he was appointed as titular organist to the church of the Madeleine in Paris, where he remained until 1877; it was there that Liszt heard him improvising and hailed him as the greatest organist in the world.

His output for the organ is no less subtly German-accented than much of his orchestral music, influenced by Schumann and Mendelssohn as well as disciplined by his comprehensive study of Bach and Beethoven as a child. While publically maintaining an attitude of scepticism towards Wagner, he nonetheless wrote with a chromatic intensity which finds a natural home in the incense-soaked world of pieces such as the Elévation et Communion and the E major Offertoire. Other reflective works include a trio of Rhapsodies on Breton themes, Op 8, which invite comparison with similar folksong-based organ pieces by Vaughan Williams.

Saint-Saëns understood how to exploit the full spectrum of tonal colours available on the instruments designed by the greatest organ builder of his age, Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, and even the apparently abstract designs of his many Preludes and Fugues invite the kind of swirling mists and brilliant sunshine evoked by Michele Savino on this newly recorded collection. The composer’s gifts as a colourist on the organ reach the summit of their expression in a collection of Seven Improvisations which, like much else here, deserves to be better known.

Born in Italy in 1978, now working principally in Germany, Michele Savino has recorded this collection on two German instruments: CD2 on the Forster and Andrews organ at the church of St John the Baptist, Forchheim, and the remainder on the Welte organ at the Church of Saint Boniface in the town of Emmendingen, Baden-Württemberg. This release marks his debut on Brilliant Classics.

Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) is one of the most important French composers of the nineteenth century, his oeuvre embracing important orchestral and chamber works, as well as works for solo instruments, alongside a few operas and church music. However, in his time, Saint-Saëns also made his name as a pianist and organist. After piano tuition under Camille Stamaty, one of Kalkbrenner’s best pupils, organ lessons with Alexandre-Pierre François Boëly between 1846 and 1848 and his study of the organ at the Paris Conservatory under François Benoist (first prize 1851), he accepted appointments as organist in Paris, first in Saint Merri (1853-57) and then Madeleine (1857-77). Together with Guilmant, Gigout and Widor, he was one of the century’s most important and celebrated performers and composers for the organ, his refined manual and pedal technique achieving an impressive precision, cleanness and speed.
This new recording presents the complete organ works by Saint-Saëns: Fantasies, Preludes & Fugues, improvisations, rhapsodies, short character pieces and a Bénédiction Nuptiale.
Played by Italian organist Michele Savino on two organs: Welte Organ, Roman Catholic Church of Saint Boniface, Emmendingen, Germany, and the Forster and Andrews Organ, Roman Catholic Church of Saint John the Baptist, Forchheim, Germany. The technical information on these instruments are included in the booklet.

Track list

Disk 1

  1. Camille Saint-Saëns: Fantaisie No. 1 in E-Flat Major
  2. Camille Saint-Saëns: Bénédiction nuptiale in F Major, Op. 9
  3. Camille Saint-Saëns: 3 Rhapsodies on Bretons Themes, Op. 7: I. Rhapsodie No. 1
  4. Camille Saint-Saëns: 3 Rhapsodies on Bretons Themes, Op. 7: II. Rhapsodie No. 2
  5. Camille Saint-Saëns: 3 Rhapsodies on Bretons Themes, Op. 7: III. Rhapsodie No. 3
  6. Camille Saint-Saëns: Theme, Variations & Choral on le dies irae
  7. Camille Saint-Saëns: Fantaisie No. 2 in D-Flat Major, Op. 101

Disk 2

  1. Camille Saint-Saëns: Marche religieuse in F Major, Op. 107
  2. Camille Saint-Saëns: Offertoire
  3. Camille Saint-Saëns: 9 Pieces for Organ or Harmonium: I. Marche – Cortège
  4. Camille Saint-Saëns: 9 Pieces for Organ or Harmonium: II. Interlude – Fugué
  5. Camille Saint-Saëns: 9 Pieces for Organ or Harmonium: III. Offertoire
  6. Camille Saint-Saëns: 9 Pieces for Organ or Harmonium: IV. Procession
  7. Camille Saint-Saëns: 9 Pieces for Organ or Harmonium: V. Elévation
  8. Camille Saint-Saëns: 9 Pieces for Organ or Harmonium: VI. Offertoire
  9. Camille Saint-Saëns: 9 Pieces for Organ or Harmonium: VII. Ave verum
  10. Camille Saint-Saëns: 9 Pieces for Organ or Harmonium: VIII. Offertoire
  11. Camille Saint-Saëns: 9 Pieces for Organ or Harmonium: IX. Elévation
  12. Camille Saint-Saëns: Prélude in F Major
  13. Camille Saint-Saëns: Verset No. 1 in E Minor
  14. Camille Saint-Saëns: Verset No. 2 in in F Major – Andante
  15. Camille Saint-Saëns: Élévation, or Communion in E Major, Op. 13
  16. Camille Saint-Saëns: Prélude in C Major

Disk 3

  1. Camille Saint-Saëns: Cyprès, Op. 156
  2. Camille Saint-Saëns: Choral - Prélude sur o salutaris hostia
  3. Camille Saint-Saëns: Prelude in C Minor
  4. Camille Saint-Saëns: Fantaisie No. 3 in C Major, Op. 157
  5. Camille Saint-Saëns: 3 Préludes and Fugues, Op. 99: I. Prélude in E Major
  6. Camille Saint-Saëns: 3 Préludes and Fugues, Op. 99: I. Fugue in E Major
  7. Camille Saint-Saëns: 3 Préludes and Fugues, Op. 99: II. Prélude in B Major
  8. Camille Saint-Saëns: 3 Préludes and Fugues, Op. 99: II. Fugue in B Major
  9. Camille Saint-Saëns: 3 Préludes and Fugues, Op. 99: III. Prélude in E-Flat Major
  10. Camille Saint-Saëns: 3 Préludes and Fugues, Op. 99: III. Fugue in E-Flat Major

Disk 4

  1. Camille Saint-Saëns: 3 Préludes and Fugues, Op. 109: I. Prélude in D Minor
  2. Camille Saint-Saëns: 3 Préludes and Fugues, Op. 109: I. Fugue in D Minor
  3. Camille Saint-Saëns: 3 Préludes and Fugues, Op. 109: II. Prélude in G Major
  4. Camille Saint-Saëns: 3 Préludes and Fugues, Op. 109: II. Fugue in G Major
  5. Camille Saint-Saëns: 3 Préludes and Fugues, Op. 109: III. Prélude in C Major
  6. Camille Saint-Saëns: 3 Préludes and Fugues, Op. 109: III. Fugue in C Major
  7. Camille Saint-Saëns: 7 Improvisations, Op. 150: I. Molto lento
  8. Camille Saint-Saëns: 7 Improvisations, Op. 150: II. Feria pentecostes
  9. Camille Saint-Saëns: 7 Improvisations, Op. 150: III. Poco adagio
  10. Camille Saint-Saëns: 7 Improvisations, Op. 150: IV. Allegretto
  11. Camille Saint-Saëns: 7 Improvisations, Op. 150: V. Pro martyribus
  12. Camille Saint-Saëns: 7 Improvisations, Op. 150: VI. pro defunctis
  13. Camille Saint-Saëns: 7 Improvisations, Op. 150: VII. Allegro giocoso