Louis Schwizgebel / BBC Symphony Orchestra / Fabien Gabel / Martyn Brabbins SAINT-SAËNS Piano Concertos 2 & 5

Of Camille Saint-Saëns’s five piano concertos, the G minor Second is the one most favoured. Its three movements cover majesty, wit and exuberance: a splendid piece altogether. Louis Schwizgebel (a success at the Leeds Piano Competition in 2012) brings weight, poise, deftness and sparkle to this endearing work, and is well accompanied by Fabien Gabel, the recording reporting a partnership of equals. Scarcely less fine as music is the ‘Egyptian’ Concerto (No 5). Saint-Saëns, an inveterate traveller, knew the locale first-hand. It’s a charming work, full of lovely tunes, affecting harmonies and oodles of atmosphere. Like Gabel, Martyn Brabbins is sympathetic to the music and to Schwizgebel’s intentions. If Rubinstein (in No 2), and Ciccolini and Hough in all five, should not be forsaken, then Schwizgebel is to be reckoned with, for both these performances are excellent and do these marvellous concertos proud – the finale of No 5 has the wind in its sails. Bon voyage! (Colin Anderson)

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