April 1, 2019
Thierry Fischer and Utah Symphony Continue Three-Volume Saint-Saëns Recording Cycle on Hyperion Records with Release of Volume 2, April 26 (Digital/UK) and May 3 (North America)

Second volume to comprise Symphony No. 2 in A minor, Symphony in F major (“Urbs Roma”), and Danse macabre, featuring concertmaster Madeline Adkins

Complete cycle to mark first recording of all five
Saint-Saëns symphonies by an American orchestra

Reviews for Volume 1 (released January 2019):

“Fischer leads a superb, thoroughly enjoyable reading of Saint-Saëns’s Organ Symphony … his sense of pacing and architecture is masterly.”

—Andrew Farach-Colton, Gramophone

“Nothing seems forced or overdone, nor is there a hint of the trite or bombastic. The fact that it was also captured live only proves what a stunningly fine group the Utah Symphony under Fischer has become … one of the most desirable Saint-Saëns collections in years.”

—Jim Svejda, Fanfare

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (April 1, 2019) — This spring, Music Director Thierry Fischer and the Utah Symphony continue their Saint-Saëns recording cycle on Hyperion Records with Volume 2, comprising Symphony No. 2 in A minor, the Symphony in F major (“Urbs Roma”), and Danse macabre, featuring concertmaster Madeline Adkins. Launched to critical acclaim last winter, the three-volume set will be the first complete, commercial recording of Saint-Saëns’s five symphonies by an American orchestra, as well as the orchestra's first recording project with independent British label Hyperion. Volume 2 is included among the label’s May 2019 releases and is available digitally and in the UK on Friday, April 26 and in North America on Friday, May 3. Pre-orders are currently available from hyperion-records.co.uk.

Mr. Fischer and the Utah Symphony recorded all three volumes of the Saint-Saëns cycle live in concert at Salt Lake City’s Abravanel Hall during the 2017–18 season. Regarding Volume 2, Mr. Fischer said:

“After launching our cycle with Saint-Saëns’s “Organ” Symphony—the composer’s crowning achievement in the symphonic form and one of his most famous works—the orchestra and I look forward to sharing with listeners two of his symphonies that are very seldom heard. Not only are these charming and stimulating works in their own right, but they also offer rich insight into a prodigiously gifted composer who was still finding his musical voice. Of course, in the third work on this recording, the Danse macabre, there is no question that he’s found it, and we have found it incredibly rewarding to explore Saint-Saëns’s music in this manner—juxtaposing his early efforts with his acknowledged masterpieces. To track the development of the composer’s style is to track the blossoming of French Romanticism itself!”

Saint-Saëns composed the F-major and A-minor symphonies when he was in his early 20s. The F-major symphony was written for a competition in 1856 and given a descriptive title (“Urbs Roma”) in keeping with the judges’ requirements. Saint-Saëns won the competition, but never promoted the work or had it published, unlike his Symphony No. 2 in A minor, which was completed in 1859, premiered in Leipzig, and performed in Paris the following year under Jules Pasdeloup, one of the leading conductors of the day. The symphonic poem Danse macabre was composed much further along in Saint-Saëns’s career, in 1874.

The three volumes of this cycle mark Mr. Fischer’s fourth, fifth, and sixth recordings with the Utah Symphony. Volume 1 comprises Symphony No. 3 (“Organ”) in C minor, featuring organist Paul Jacobs; “Danse Bacchanale” from Act III of the composer’s opera Samson et Dalila;andTrois tableaux symphoniques d’après La foi. Volume 3 comprises Symphony No. 1 in E-flat major; the Symphony in A major, written when the composer was only 15 years old; and The Carnival of the Animals. Volume 3 is planned for release later in 2019, date to be announced.

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 albums on Hyperion prior to these Saint-Saëns recordings, 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. In concert next season, he leads the orchestra in a season-long exploration of Messiaen’s Des canyons aux étoiles, a twelve-movement work inspired by the birds and rugged features of southern Utah.

In the ten years since he became Music Director, Mr. Fischer has conducted numerous composer cycles at Abravanel Hall, and in addition to focusing on Saint-Saëns, he has led the orchestra in cycles of symphonies and concertos by composers from Germany, Austria, Denmark, and America. These performances include a two-season Mahler symphony cycle in celebration of the Utah Symphony’s 75th anniversary and its legacy as the first American orchestra to record the complete Mahler symphonies.

This Saint-Saëns recording was made possible thanks to support from: Kem and Carolyn Gardner, Patricia A. Richards, and William K. Nichols.

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.

For more information about Mr. Fischer, visit thierryfischer.com.

# # #

UTAH SYMPHONY
SAINT-SAËNS: COMPLETE SYMPHONIES AND ADDITIONAL WORKS, VOL. 2
HYPERION RECORDS CDA68212

Utah Symphony
Thierry Fischer, conductor
Madeline Adkins, concertmaster

CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1835–1921)

Symphony No 2 in A minor Op 55 [22'41]
1. Allegro marcato – Allegro appassionato [7'36]
2. Adagio [3'34]
3. Scherzo: Presto [4'26]
4. Prestissimo [7'05]

5. Danse macabre Op 40 [6'56]
Madeline Adkins (violin)

Symphony in F major 'Urbs Roma' [43'01]
6. Largo – Allegro [11'34]
7. Molto vivace [6'11]
8. Moderato, assai serioso [13'37]
9. Poco allegretto – Andante con moto [11'39]

Total duration: 72:38

Recorded live at Abravanel Hall (Salt Lake City, UT) on September 22 and 23, 2017 (Symphony No. 2), December 8 and 9, 2017 (“Urbs Roma”), and February 23 and 24, 2018 (Danse macabre).

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