"This is the finest combination of performance and recording of all the 'Organ' Symphonies I have heard. Originally released in August of 1991, this was Telarc's only recording with Romanian-born conductor Christian Badea, who at the time was concluding his nine-year tenure as Music Director of the Columbus Symphony.
On this recording are Saint-Saens' Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op. 78 known as the "Organ" Symphony, featuring one of today's great organists Michael Murray as well as Phaeton, Op. 39, a one-movement tone poem, similar in form to the symphonic poems of Liszt. Phaeton's "program" is taken from the Greek legend of the son of Helios, who drove his father's sun chariot too close to the earth and would have set fire to it had not Zeus struck him down with a thunderbolt.
Camille Saint-Saens was a musical prodigy, beginning to compose at the age of three and entering the Paris Conservatory at twelve. He greatly admired the music of Berlioz and Liszt (it is the latter that the "Organ" Symphony is dedicated), but in this writing, he helped to promote interest in the earlier music of Handel, Rameau, Lully, and Bach.