It's about time a Parisian orchestra tried its hand at something other than the usual Debussy and Ravel in the French repertoire. While we wait for symphonies by Magnard, Ropartz or Honegger, we are blessed with a recording, of all the symphonies by Camille Saint-Saëns, conducted by Cristian Măcelaru, conductor of the Orchestre National de France (of which he has been the principal conductor of since the 1st of September, 2020), published by Warner Classics.
Saint-Saëns : Symphonie n°2 en la mineur op. 55France Musique concerts
Before talking about the works, let us emphasise the extraordinary precision and focus of Măcelaru's conducting, with its sense of nuance, softness of articulation, precision of timing. Under this vibrant baton, the Orchestre National seems to have found a new breath and a new precision. As for Saint-Saëns's five symphonies, they are, with the exception of the famous “Symphonie avec orgue” (1886), youthful works and one could not blame the young composer for shamelessly plagiarising his predecessors! He was fifteen years old when he composed his Symphony in A major (without number), which owes everything to Haydn's “London