8th Festival Palazzetto Bru Zane Paris

The Promised Land

by Saint-Saëns
Concert Sacred Music Philarmonie de Paris
The oratorio The Promised Land, premiered under the composer’s baton at the Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester Cathedral on 11 September 1913, consists of three parts, each of which presents a succession of numbers for soloists or chorus. In the first part, Moses leads the Israelites into the desert and, by the grace of God, causes water to gush forth from a rock to quench his people’s thirst: ‘Behold, he smote the rock’, the chorus proclaims, before being joined by a trio of soloists (soprano, contralto and tenor) to praise God’s omnipotence. The second part depicts the doubts of the people during the Exodus and the prayers of Moses and Aaron; it ends with a solemn, melodious ‘Song of Moses’ for baritone solo and chorus. In the third part, the death of Moses is announced by a solo tenor, followed by a chorus of lamentation and a final quartet exalting God. Saint-Saëns acknowledged a degree of obscurity in the prose libretto, which Herman Klein drew entirely from the Bible, but he observed in 1916: ‘Biblical language is often mysterious, and that mystery is part of its appeal.’ A French version of the oratorio was performed at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées on 20 February 1916, and a German version, on a text by Otto Neitzel, was published in 1914.


The Promised Land, op. 140
Symphonie n° 3 « avec orgue » en ut mineur, op. 78


Tue 8 June 2021
Philharmonie de Paris, Paris


Tugan Sokhiev conductor
Alfonso Caiani choirmaster
Nicole Car soprano
Kate Aldrich mezzo-soprano
Cyrille Dubois tenor
Mikhail Timoshenko baritone
Michel Bouvard organ
Production Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse / Philharmonie de Paris
In partnership with the Palazzetto Bru Zane
World premiere recording for the Label Bru Zane
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