Camille Saint-SaŽns

Biography

Born: Oct 9, 1835; France   Died: Dec 16, 1921; Algeria   Period: Romantic
Camille Saint-SaŽns was something of an anomaly among French composers of the nineteenth century in that he wrote in virtually all genres, including opera, symphonies, concertos, songs, sacred and secular choral music, solo piano, and chamber music. He was generally not a pioneer, though he did help to revive some earlier and largely forgotten dance forms, like the bourťe and gavotte. He was a conservative who wrote many popular scores scattered Read more throughout the various genres: the Piano Concerto No. 2, Symphony No. 3 ("Organ"), the symphonic poem Danse macabre, the opera Samson et Dalila, and probably his most widely performed work, The Carnival of The Animals. While he remained a composer closely tied to tradition and traditional forms in his later years, he did develop a more arid style, less colorful and, in the end, less appealing. He was also a poet and playwright of some distinction.
Saint-SaŽns was born in Paris on October 9, 1835. He was one of the most precocious musicians ever, beginning piano lessons with his aunt at two-and-a-half and composing his first work at three. At age seven he studied composition with Pierre Maledin. When he was ten, he gave a concert that included Beethoven's Third Piano Concerto, Mozart's B flat Concerto, K. 460, along with works by Bach, Handel, and Hummel. In his academic studies, he displayed the same genius, learning languages and advanced mathematics with ease and celerity. He would also develop keen, lifelong interests in geology and astronomy.
In 1848, he entered the Paris Conservatory and studied organ and composition, the latter with Halťvy. By his early twenties, following the composition of two symphonies, he had won the admiration and support of Berlioz, Liszt, Gounod, Rossini, and other notable figures. From 1853 to 1876, he held church organist posts; he also taught at the …cole Niedermeyer (1861-1865). He composed much throughout his early years, turning out the 1853 Symphony in F ("Urbs Roma"), a Mass (1855) and several concertos, including the popular second, for piano (1868).
In 1875, Saint-SaŽns married the 19-year-old Marie Truffot, bringing on perhaps the saddest chapter in his life. The union produced two children who died within six weeks of each other, one from a four-story fall. The marriage ended in 1881. Oddly, this dark period in his life produced some of his most popular works, including Danse macabre (1875) and Samson et Dalila (1878). After the tragic events of his marriage, Saint-SaŽns developed a fondness for Faurť and his family, acting as a second father to Faurť's children.
But he also remained very close to his mother, who had opposed his marriage. When she died in 1888, the composer fell into a deep depression, even contemplating suicide for a time. He did much travel in the years that followed and developed an interest in Algeria and Egypt, which eventually inspired him to write Africa (1891) and his Piano Concerto No. 5, the "Egyptian". He also turned out works unrelated to exotic places, such as his popular and most enduring serious composition, the Symphony No. 3.
Curiously, after 1890, Saint-SaŽns' music was regarded with some condescension in his homeland, while in England and the United States he was hailed as France's greatest living composer well into the twentieth century. Saint-SaŽns experienced an especially triumphant concert tour when he visited the U.S. in 1915. In the last two decades of his life, he remained attached to his dogs and was largely a loner. He died in Algeria on December 16, 1921. Read less

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  • 1.
    Creating Timeless Classics
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186531 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Arcangelo Corelli  ... 
    Performer:  Martin Helmchen,  Alexei Ogrintchouk,  Vesko Eschkenazy,  Jonathan Gilad  ... 
    Conductor:  Mikhail Pletnev,  Lawrence Foster,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Vladimir Jurowski  ... 
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  • 2.
    Opera Breve / Philippe Quint, Lily Maisky
    Label: Avanti Classic   Catalog: 1040 Release Date: 11/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Christoph W. Gluck  ... 
    Performer:  Lily Maisky,  Philippe Quint
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  • 3.
    The Britannic Organ, Vol. 6: Welte's British Organists; Five Victorian Virtuosi
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 845 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Alfred Hollins,  George Elbridge Whiting,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Alfred Hollins,  Harry Goss-Custard,  William Wolstenholme,  Herbert Walton  ... 
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  • 4.
    Saint-saens: Piano Concerto No. 2; Cello Concerto No. 1; Violin Concerto No. 3; Introduction & Rondo Capriccioso
    Label: Praga   Catalog: 350077 Release Date: 05/14/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-SaŽns
    Performer:  Emil Gilels,  Isaac Stern,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Arthur Grumiaux
    Conductor:  Andrť Cluytens,  Eugene Ormandy,  Sir Malcolm Sargent,  Jean Fournet
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  • 5.
    Label: Ars Produktion   Catalog: 381335 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius,  Camille Saint-SaŽns,  Franz Waxman,  Henri Wieniawski  ... 
    Performer:  Arata Yumi,  Mone Hattori,  Zakhar Bron
    Conductor:  Zakhar Bron
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  • 6.
    Saint-Saens: Le Deluge / Wurtte, Figuralchor Der Gedachtniskirche Stuttgart
    Label: Ars Produktion   Catalog: 381274 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-SaŽns
    Conductor:  Alexander Burda
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  • 7.
    Liszt, Ravel, Saint-saens / Yevgeny Sudbin
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1828 Release Date: 11/27/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Maurice Ravel,  Camille Saint-SaŽns
    Performer:  Yevgeny Sudbin
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  • 8.
    Saint-saens: Piano Trios, Opp. 18 & 92
    Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)   Catalog: 9421763 Release Date: 10/16/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-SaŽns
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Piano Trio
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  • 9.
    Neeme Jarvi Conducts Saint-Saens / Jarvi, Royal Scottish National Orchestra
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 5104 Release Date: 06/26/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-SaŽns
    Conductor:  Neeme Jšrvi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
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  • 10.
    Elan: Ballet Music From Operas By Saint-saens
    Label: Melba   Catalog: 301130 Release Date: 12/13/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-SaŽns
    Conductor:  Guillaume Tourniaire
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Victoria Orchestra
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  • 11.
    d'Indy, Saint-Saens, Chausson / Janowski, Orchestre De La Suisse Romande
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186357 Release Date: 09/27/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vincent D'Indy,  Camille Saint-SaŽns,  Ernest Chausson
    Performer:  Martin Helmchen
    Conductor:  Marek Janowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra
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  • 12.
    Saint-Saens: Cello Concertos, Suite / Walevska, Inbal, Monte Carlo
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186136 Release Date: 07/26/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-SaŽns
    Performer:  Christine Walevska
    Conductor:  Eliahu Inbal
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monte Carlo National Opera Orchestra
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  • 13.
    Fantasies & Impromptus / Lavinia Meijer
    Label: Channel Classics   Catalog: 31711 Release Date: 06/14/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gabriel Piernť,  Louis Spohr,  Camille Saint-SaŽns,  Gabriel Faurť  ... 
    Performer:  Lavinia Meijer
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  • 14.
    L'amour Et La Mort - Widor, Saint-saens, Bizet, Faure / Iveta Apkalna
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 678 Release Date: 02/22/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles-Marie Widor,  Camille Saint-SaŽns,  Georges Bizet,  Gabriel Faurť
    Performer:  Iveta Apkalna
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  • 15.
    Wills: The Fenlands / Burghgraef, Wiersinga, Soli Brass
    Label: Aliud   Catalog: 38 Release Date: 06/15/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arthur Wills,  Percy Whitlock,  Wilfred Heaton,  Camille Saint-SaŽns  ... 
    Performer:  Erwin Wiersinga
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Soli Brass
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  • 16.
    Saint-Saens: Complete Piano Concertos / Malikova, Sanderling
    Label: Audite   Catalog: 91650 Release Date: 05/25/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Camille Saint-SaŽns
    Performer:  Anna Malikova
    Conductor:  Thomas Sanderling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 17.
    French Romantic Cello Sonatas
    Label: Praga   Catalog: 884454 Release Date: 03/23/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-SaŽns,  Lťon BoŽllmann,  Cťsar Franck
    Performer:  Michal Kanka
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  • 18.
    Label: Lyrinx   Catalog: 884354 Release Date: 03/23/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Spoken Word,  Tibor Harsanyi,  Camille Saint-SaŽns
    Performer:  Caroline Sageman,  Lidija Bizjak
    Conductor:  Yannis Pouspourikas
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  • 19.
    Chant D'automne: Franzosische Hornmusik
    Label: Ars Produktion   Catalog: 380277 Release Date: 01/23/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-SaŽns,  J. Th. Radoux,  Emile Pessard,  Paul Jeanjean  ... 
    Performer:  Ulrich Hubner
    Conductor:  Michael Alexander Willens
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Die KŲlner Akademie
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  • 20.
    Exotic Dances From The Opera / Eiji Oue, Minnesota Orchestra
    Label: Reference Recordings   Catalog: 712 Release Date: 11/10/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Richard Strauss,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Conductor:  Eiji Oue
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Minnesota Orchestra
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  • 21.
    Bizet: Carmen Suite; Ravel: Bolero / Spanish Art Guitar Quartet
    Label: Nca   Catalog: 60156 Release Date: 10/27/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Camille Saint-SaŽns,  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Spanish Art Guitar Quartet
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  • 22.
    Saint-saens: Piano Quartets / Mozart Piano Quartet
    Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm) Gold   Catalog: 9431519 Release Date: 06/16/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-SaŽns
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mozart Piano Quartet
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  • 23.
    Rhapsodie:Fantasie:Poeme / Tuckwell, Jacks, Victoria Orchestra
    Label: Melba   Catalog: 301117 Release Date: 04/14/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean-Michel Damase,  Charles Koechlin,  Paul Dukas,  Camille Saint-SaŽns  ... 
    Performer:  Ben Jacks
    Conductor:  Barry Tuckwell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Queensland Orchestra,  Victoria Orchestra
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  • 24.
    Label: Ars   Catalog: 38008 Release Date: 01/01/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-SaŽns
    Performer:  Vilija Poskute,  Tomas Daukantas
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  • 25.
    Label: Ars Produktion   Catalog: 38038 Release Date: 01/01/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-SaŽns
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