The Piano Concerto No. 5 in F major, Op. 103, popularly known as The Egyptian, was Camille Saint-Saëns’ last piano concerto. He wrote it in 1896 for his Jubilee Concert on May 6 of that year. This concert celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of his début, and he himself was the soloist at the première, which was a popular and critical success.
This concerto is nicknamed “The Egyptian” for two reasons. Firstly, Saint-Saëns composed it in the temple town of Luxor while on one of his frequent winter vacations to Egypt, and secondly, the music is among his most exotic.
This particular recording by Sviatoslav Richter, recorded with the Moscow Youth Orchestra, Kirill Kondrashin conducting, has been a lifelong favorite of mine. It was recorded in 1952.
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