Symphony No. 2 in A minor, Op. 55, written by the 24-year-old French composer Camille Saint-Saëns, is the shortest of his five symphonies. It is a fairly representative example of 19th-century French symphonic music, but it has never enjoyed the attention and popularity of Saint-Saëns’ Third Symphony, also known as the Organ Symphony. In the Second Symphony, the composer was still searching for his own distinctive and individual creative style.
The short introduction, Allegro marcato, is followed by a fugue (Allegro appassionato), which develops from the bold and impetuous theme of the introduction. The second movement, Adagio, is marked by simplicity, songfulness and elegance. The third movement Scherzo. Presto returns to a raucous mood. There is no shortage of driving syncopations and expressive dynamic contrasts. The cheerful finale (Prestissimo) features references to Haydn, Gounod, Mendelssohn-Bartholdy.
The symphony was premiered in Leipzig on 20 February 1859. The composer dedicated the work to Maestro Jules Pasdeloup, who conducted the premiere in Paris on 25 March 1860.
This rarely performed symphonic score by Saint-Saëns features the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra. Conducted by Modestas Pitrėnas.
ORCHESTRA: LITHUANIAN NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
CONDUCTOR: MODESTAS PITRĖNAS