Salt Lake City, UTAH (November 12, 2018) — The Utah Symphony under Music Director Thierry Fischer launches a recording cycle of works by French composer Camille Saint-Saëns on Hyperion Records.
This three-volume set will be the first complete, commercial recording of the composer’s five symphonies by an American orchestra, as well as the orchestra’s first recording project with the independent British label.
Volume 1 is released on Friday, December 28 and comprises Symphony No. 3 in C minor (“Organ”), featuring Paul Jacobs; “Danse Bacchanale” from Act III of the composer’s opera Samson et Dalila; and Trois tableaux symphoniques d’après La foi, based on the composer’s incidental music for a play by Eugène Brieux. Pre-orders are currently available from hyperion-records.co.uk.
The Utah Symphony embarks on these milestone Saint-Saëns recordings having also been the first American orchestra to record the complete Mahler symphonies. Since Mr. Fischer became Music Director in 2009, he has conducted numerous symphonic cycles at Abravanel Hall, and these works by Saint-Saëns were recorded live during the 2017–18 season. Volume 1 was recorded on December 1 and 2, 2017.
Throughout his career, Mr. Fischer has been especially active as a conductor of the French repertoire—from classics by Debussy and Ravel to contemporary works by Pierre Boulez and Tristan Murail. Of his 14 previous recordings on Hyperion, over half are devoted to works by Francophone composers, including Fauré, Françaix, Honegger, d’Indy, Lalo, Martin, Poulenc, and Widor. The Saint-Saëns cycle marks his first recordings of the French repertoire with the Utah Symphony, and following this project, an all-Berlioz album with the orchestra is also planned for release on Hyperion.
“Prior to this Saint-Saëns cycle, the orchestra and I had performed the complete symphonies of composers from Germany, Austria, Denmark, and America, but never from France, so for me this seemed a very natural choice,” said Mr. Fischer, for whom the cycle’s three volumes mark his fourth, fifth, and sixth recordings with the orchestra.
“Since Saint-Saëns’s symphonies have rarely been recorded in their entirety—and never by an American orchestra—this is an opportunity for us to continue our artistic journey, diving into the intensity and energy of the French Romantic spirit!”
In addition to the three numbered symphonies, the cycle includes Saint-Saëns’s Symphony in A major, written when the composer was only 15 years old, and the Symphony in F major (“Urbs Roma”), whose descriptive title—Saint-Saëns’s own—suggests a musical evocation of the Eternal City.
Symphony No. 2 and the “Urbs Roma” Symphony are included on Volume 2 alongside Danse macabre, featuring soloist and Utah Symphony concertmaster Madeline Adkins, while Symphony No. 1 and the Symphony in A major are included on Volume 3 alongside The Carnival of the Animals.
Volumes 2 and 3 are planned for release later in 2019, dates to be announced.
About the Utah Symphony
Founded in 1940, the Utah Symphony performs more than 175 concerts each season and offers all Utahns access to world-class live performances of the world’s greatest music in the state’s top venues. Since being named the orchestra’s seventh Music Director in 2009, Thierry Fischer has attracted leading musicians and top soloists, refreshed programming, drawn increased audiences, and galvanized community support. In addition to numerous regional and domestic tours, including the Mighty 5® Tour of Utah’s national parks and last season’s Great American Road Trip, which also included Utah state parks and national monuments, the Utah Symphony has embarked on seven international tours—from Europe to Central and South America—and performed at Carnegie Hall in 2016 coinciding with the orchestra’s 75th anniversary celebrations.
The Utah Symphony has released more than 100 recordings, and recent releases (on Reference Recordings) include Mahler’s Symphonies No. 1 and 8 (2015 and 2017, respectively) and Dawn to Dust (2016), which features three Utah Symphony-commissioned works by Nico Muhly, Andrew Norman, and Augusta Read Thomas. The orchestra’s discography with former Music Director Maurice Abravanel includes not only the complete Mahler symphonies, but also premiere recordings of works by Honegger, Milhaud, Rorem, Satie, Schuman, and Varèse.
Utah Symphony | Utah Opera, the orchestra’s parent organization, reaches 450,000 residents in Utah and the Intermountain region, with educational outreach programs serving more than 155,000 students annually. In addition to performances in its home in Salt Lake City, Abravanel Hall, and concerts throughout the state of Utah, the Utah Symphony participates in Utah Opera’s four annual productions at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre and present the six-week Deer Valley® Music Festival each summer in Park City, Utah.
For more information about the orchestra, visit utahsymphony.org.
Season Sponsor for Utah Symphony | Utah Opera is the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation.
About Thierry Fischer
Now in his tenth season as Music Director of the Utah Symphony, Thierry Fischer has revitalized the orchestra with creative programming, critically acclaimed performances, and new recordings. Highlights of his tenure include a multi-season Haydn symphony cycle; additional cycles of symphonies by Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Mahler, Nielsen, and Ives; and a tour of Utah’s five national parks. Appointed Principal Guest of the Seoul Philharmonic in January 2017, Mr. Fischer has also guest-conducted the Atlanta, BBC, Boston, Cincinnati, and Detroit symphony orchestras, Czech Philharmonic, Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, London Philharmonic Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Oslo and Rotterdam Philharmonics, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra, and the Munich Chamber Orchestra, among others. With the BBC Symphony Orchestra, he conducted the 2015 “Pierre Boulez at 90” concert at London’s Barbican Hall.
Mr. Fischer made his conducting debut in his 30s leading the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, which he led in 2016 on a European tour. He has served as Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Ulster Orchestra (2001–06), Chief Conductor of the Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra (2008–11), and Principal Conductor of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales (2006–12), which he led annually at the BBC Proms, frequently in performances of the French repertoire.
Saint-Saëns: Complete Symphonies and Additional Works, Vol. 1
Hyperion Records CDA68201
Thierry Fischer, conductor
Madeline Adkins, concertmaster
Paul Jacobs, organ*
Camille Saint-Saëns (1835–1921)
Trois tableaux symphoniques d’après La foi, Op. 130 [31’58]
1. Poco allegro [12’34]
2. Andantino (Sans lenteur) [8’16]
3. Allegro moderato e maestoso [11’08]
4. Bacchanale from Samson et Dalila, Op. 47 (Act III) [7’14]
Symphony No. 3 in C minor (“Organ”), Op. 78 (1886) [36’00]*
5. Adagio – Allegro moderato [10’08]
6. Poco adagio [10’39]
7. Allegro moderato – Presto [7’22]
8. Maestoso – Allegro [7’51]
Total duration: 75:12