Hi Greg, Noticing that you play the Saint-Saens Ctos. 2 & 4, I'll ask you something I've wondered over as a listener for years. The Ctos. 2 & 4 consistently get all the attention while the 3 & 5 get relatively ignored. Why I wonder this is, taking the Cto 5 with those exotic sounds in the middle movement (harmonics?) are so unique in the repertoire that they still sound somewhat revolutionary to me against other Romantic Ctos. All the best.
- Bill Shurtleff
I love your question! Those who know me well know of my passionate advocacy for Saint-Saëns' fifth and third piano concertos. They're wonderful pieces, but they do have their share of weaknesses. Most people consider the second and fourth concertos to be more consistent from beginning to end. Nevertheless, the fifth and third concertos have some unimaginably beautiful and inspired moments. I particularly love the entire second movement of the third concerto and the ending of the fifth concerto's first movement. The second movement of the latter concerto does, indeed, feature some exotic and awesome sounds, but it was hardly revolutionary when compared to other music written at the time. Believe it or not, the work was composed after Prokofiev's first piano concerto, after the first version of Prokofiev's second piano concerto, after Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, after Debussy's Preludes, Ravel's Gaspard de la nuit, and many other revolutionary works of the early twentieth century!
Pieces enter my repertoire for a variety of reasons - some complex reasons and some simple. The pieces listed on my repertoire page are, by no means, a complete listing of the pieces I love. There are countless works on my "repertoire wish list" that I have yet to learn, and with some luck, I will have many years ahead of me to make my wishes a reality. Learning repertoire is a time consuming process; the notes can be learned in a matter of weeks, but it usually takes years of "living with a piece" before it becomes something I'm proud to share with the public. Incidentally, my "wish list" is still growing, and I seriously consider all of the suggested offered by visitors of this website. Recommend music here!