Saint-Saëns’ violin works from Tianwa Yang

Saint-Saëns: Works for Violin and Orchestra

Tianwa Yang (violin), Gabriel Schwabe (cello),  Malmö Symphony Orchestra, Marc Soustrot (conductor)

Tianwa Yang is a Chinese classical violinist who was born in Beijing in 1987. She recorded her first CD in 2000, at the age of 13, with a recording of Paganini’s Caprices for solo violin, Op. 1 Nos. 1-24, on the Hugo Classical label. Since 2004 she has been a recording artist on the Naxos label.

Tianwa Yang

Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) is one of the most extraordinary musical prodigies in the history of Western music. He was a very talented pianist and a composer of some note. As a young man Saint-Saëns admired such progressive figures as Wagner and Liszt, but as he aged he adopted a more conservative approach and tended to dislike the innovative developments of Debussy, Stravinsky and other similar composers. There can be little doubt that the main influence on Saint-Saëns compositions for violin was Pablo de Sarasate.

Having previously recorded four CDs of works for violin and orchestra by Pablo de Sarasate¹, which we regarded very highly, it is perhaps not surprising to find Tianwa Yang turning to the violin works of Saint-Saëns. On this newly released CD Tianwa Yang is joined by Marc Soustrot and the Malmö Symphony Orchestra. Marc Soustrot and the Malmö Symphony Orchestra have already recorded, the orchestral music of Saint-Saëns on 3 CDs and those readings were most pleasing.

This latest disc contains several popular works such as the frequently recorded Havanaise, Op. 83 and the Introduction & Rondo capriccioso, Op. 28, which acts as a showcase for the soloist. Tianwa Yang also performs the relatively popular Romance in D flat major, Op. 37 and La Muse et le Poète, Op. 132 for which she is joined by the cellist Gabriel Schwabe. There are also some comparative rarities on this disc such as the opening Caprice andalous, Op. 122 and the Romance in C major, Op. 48, for violin and orchestra both of which are well worth hearing.

The disc fully lives up to expectations with some accomplished violin playing from Tianwa Yang and Marc Soustrot proves to be a sympathetic partner guiding the Malmö Symphony Orchestra through these works. The sound of the soloist and orchestra is well captured by the Naxos engineers. Altogether an enjoyable listen.

iClassical rating: 

Stream on Spotify or purchase from Presto Classical.

¹ Recently repackaged as a bargain 4CD set.