Titled Elan, this disc features the Australian orchestra conducted by Guillaume Tourniaire in what are rightly termed “melodic pieces in miniature”. The music is superbly recorded and boasts a world premiere recording of music from Ascanio: 12 tracks portraying an elaborate entertainment for Spanish and French royalty set in the gardens of Fontainebleau. This is the essence of Renaissance elegance. The other works are six ballet jewels from the opera Etienne Marcel, two dances from Henry VIII and four excerpts from Les Barbares, a bloodthirsty tale written for outdoor performance in a Roman amphitheatre. Saint-Saëns’ passion for historic subjects led him to write these masterful pastiches to accompany scenes of dramatic splendour.
Highlight: Scintillating programme of music for dance