Saint-Saëns: Piano Concertos Nos. 2 & 5

Saint-Saëns: Piano Concertos Nos. 2 & 5

Pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande indulge in two of Saint-Saëns’ most popular of piano concertos, Nos. 2 & 5, with Franck’s lesser-known but equally enjoyable Variations symphoniques thrown in for good measure. Every inch the showman, Thibaudet brings an irresistible energy to Saint-Saëns’ stylish Second, the nonchalant Allegro scherzando played with seemingly effortless grace and wit. Where needed, however, Thibaudet brings plenty of drama and poise, particularly in the Second’s final movement as well as in the seductive “Egyptian” Fifth, with its now dated quasi-Eastern flavors.

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