Camille Saint-Saëns’ Africa
Neeme Järvi, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Louis Lortie (piano)
There’s about as much Africa in this music as there is Martian in me. IE, not a lot. But, who cares? It’s a very beautiful piano+orchestra piece, with due bravura parts, and all sounding rather wonderfully fin-de-siécle Paris (with the occasional and obvious nod to Egypt. The Egypt of Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleapatra, that is. That is, nothing at all authentic, but very much a Victorian European idea of what it might be to be Egyptian. Fleetingingly). Don’t let my carping put you off: it’s a nice piece.