Saint-saëns: Symphony No. 3, 'organ' - Poulenc: O

Album cover art for upc 4035719001785
Label: BRK
Catalog: BRK900178

Jansons, Mariss; Apkalna, Iveta; Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks

Two great symphonic organ concertos can be heard on the new album from BR-KLASSIK: the famous Organ Symphony by Camille Saint-Saëns and the lesser-known but highly impressive Concerto for Organ, Strings and Timpani by Francis Poulenc. The Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks is conducted by Mariss Jansons, and the organ soloist is the excellent Latvian musician Iveta Apkalna, one of the most renowned concert organists of our time. In his Symphony no. 3 in C minor, op. 78, the so-called ”Organ Symphony” of 1886, Camille Saint-Saëns succeeded in integrating the organ into the musical fabric of a symphonic work. Of this, the last of his five symphonies, Saint-Saëns wrote: “Here, I gave everything I was able to give. What I have here accomplished I will never achieve again.” Francis Poulenc's Concerto for Organ, Strings and Timpani in G minor was composed in 1938. At a time when it was no longer customary to present a solo concerto for organ, the work, with its unusual choice of instruments, is a tribute to Johann Sebastian Bach. In contrast to the organ compositions by the Baroque master, of course, Poulenc wrote for a large organ that could achieve impressive sound effects. The Latvian concert organist Iveta Apkalna debuted in 2007 with the Berlin Philharmonic under Claudio Abbado. As the titular organist of the new Klais organ at the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, she played at the opening of the new concert hall in 2017 with world premieres of works by Wolfgang Rihm, together with Thomas Hengelbrock and the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester. In 2018, she received prestigious music awards in Latvia in the “Musician of the Year” and “Concert of the Year” categories, and that same year, as part of the centennial celebrations of the Republic of Latvia, she was awarded the highest state order of merit in the country.

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