Camille Saint-Saëns

Biography

Born: Oct 9, 1835; France   Died: Dec 16, 1921; Algeria   Period: Romantic
Camille Saint-Saëns 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 bourée 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-Saëns 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 Halévy. 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 École 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-Saëns 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-Saëns developed a fondness for Fauré and his family, acting as a second father to Fauré'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-Saëns' 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-Saëns 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

Work: Samson et Dalila, Op. 47: Printemps, qui commence

Browse 1-25 of 45 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Maria Callas Sings Great Arias From French Operas
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 634008 Release Date: 10/21/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Christoph W. Gluck,  Georges Bizet,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas
    Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Radio Orchestra
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  • 2.
    Maria Callas Remastered - Complete Studio Recordings
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 633991 Release Date: 09/23/2014   Number of Discs: 70
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Richard Wagner,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Gianni Poggi,  Fedora Barbieri,  Paolo Silveri  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Basile,  Antonino Votto,  Gabriele Santini,  Tullio Serafin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Turin,  Italian Radio Chorus Turin,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $274.99
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  • 3.
    Valentina Levko - Star Of The Bolshoi
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 9406 Release Date: 05/28/2013   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Henry Purcell,  Alessandro Stradella,  Andrea Falconieri  ... 
    Performer:  Valentina Levko,  Mark Lubotsky,  Grigory Zinger,  Liya Mogilevskaya  ... 
    Conductor:  Adolf Bruk,  Juozas Domarkas,  Alexander Lazarev,  Kurt Masur  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra,  Moscow Philharmonic Chamber Ensemble,  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $48.99
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  • 4.
    Giulietta Simionato - Portrait Of A Legend
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 93483 Release Date: 12/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Irving Berlin,  Ambroise Thomas,  Georges Bizet,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Giulietta Simionato,  Luciano Bettarini
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Argeo Quadri,  Arturo Basile,  Fernando Previtali  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Milan Symphony Orchestra,  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Turin  ... 
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  • 5.
    Icon: Maria Callas - La Divina
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 23401 Release Date: 09/18/2012   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Francesco Cilèa,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Giuseppe Morresi,  Ebe Stignani,  Raffaele Arié  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Nicola Rescigno,  Georges Prêtre
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $42.99
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  • 6.
    Maria Callas - The Studio Recitals
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 59776 Release Date: 08/28/2012   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Francesco Cilèa,  Umberto Giordano,  Alfredo Catalani  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Monica Sinclair,  John Lanigan,  Joseph Rouleau  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Nicola Rescigno,  Georges Prêtre,  Antonio Tonini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Philharmonia Chorus  ... 
    CD: $54.99
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  • 7.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit: Jeanne Gerville-reache
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89737 Release Date: 12/14/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Charles Gounod,  Georges Bizet,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Jeanne Gerville-Réache,  Charles Cahier
    Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
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  • 8.
    Saint-Saens: Samson et Dalila Highlights / Carreras, Baltsa, Davis
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 438504 Release Date: 08/12/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns
    Performer:  José Carreras,  Simon Estes,  Robert Swensen,  Jonathan [Baritone Vocal] Summers  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Chorus
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  • 9.
    Dokumente Einer Sangerkarriere: Elisabeth Hongen
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 93465 Release Date: 04/13/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Georges Bizet,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Hetty Plümacher,  Elisabeth Höngen,  Gustav Grefe,  Walther Ludwig  ... 
    Conductor:  Ferdinand Leitner,  Sir Georg Solti
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  • 10.
    La Scala Edition, Volume 1 - 1878-1914
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 64860 Release Date: 11/10/2009   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Jacques Halévy  ... 
    Performer:  Adelina Patti,  Alfredo Barili,  Giuseppe Kaschmann,  Salvatore Cottone  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini,  Carlo Sabajno,  Edoardo Vitale
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Orchestra,  Chorus
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  • 11.
    The Complete Conchita Supervia Vol 3 - Parlophone And Odeon 1930-1932
    Label: Marston   Catalog: 52060 Release Date: 10/12/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Modesto Pomero,  Federico Longás Torres,  Juan Manén,  D'Hardelot  ... 
    Performer:  Conchita Supervia,  Pedro Vallribera,  Ivor Newton,  Alejandro Vilalta  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Minssart,  Gustav Cloëz,  Unknown,  Antonio Capdevila
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
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  • 12.
    Complete Recordings Of Marie Delna, Selected Recordings Of Jeanne Marié De L'isle
    Label: Marston   Catalog: 52056 Release Date: 05/12/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Umberto Giordano,  Cécile Louise Chaminade,  Reynaldo Hahn,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Jeanne Marié De l'isle,  Léon Beyle,  Hector Dufranne,  Marie Delna  ... 
    CD: $36.99
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  • 13.
    Marilyn Horne - The Complete Decca Recitals
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001089302 Release Date: 04/15/2008   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Al Piantadosi,  Hugo Wolf,  Ambroise Thomas  ... 
    Performer:  Marilyn Horne,  Martin Katz,  Osian Ellis
    Conductor:  Henry Lewis,  Carl Davis,  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Opera Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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    CD: $46.99
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  • 14.
    Maria Callas - The Complete Studio Recordings
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 95918 Release Date: 09/25/2007   Number of Discs: 70
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  David Sellar,  Giorgio Tadeo,  Tito Gobbi  ... 
    Conductor:  Nicola Rescigno,  Georges Prêtre,  Tullio Serafin,  Antonino Votto  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris,  Paris Opera Orchestra,  Paris Opera Chorus  ... 
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  • 15.
    The One And Only - Opera Arias / Maria Callas
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 96341 Release Date: 08/28/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Christoph W. Gluck,  Jules Massenet,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gaetano Donizetti  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Anna Maria Canali,  Jane Berbié,  Nadine Sautereau  ... 
    Conductor:  Georges Prêtre,  Nicola Rescigno,  Tullio Serafin,  Franco Ghione  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Radio Orchestra,  Society of the Conservatory Concerts Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 16.
    Maria Callas 100 Best Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 82258 Release Date: 01/16/2007   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Rolando Panerai,  Angelo Mercuriali,  Nicola Rossi-Lemeni  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Antonino Votto,  Nicola Rescigno,  Gianandrea Gavazzeni  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $18.99
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  • 17.
    Complete Recordings Of Grieg, Saint Saens, And Pugno
    Label: Marston   Catalog: 52054 Release Date: 05/12/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Jules Massenet,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Edvard Grieg,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Gabriel Willaume,  Meyriane Héglon  ... 
    CD: $36.99
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  • 18.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - Gladys Swarthout
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89561 Release Date: 01/28/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Joseph Canteloube,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Jules Massenet,  Jacques Offenbach  ... 
    Performer:  Gladys Swarthout,  Ramon Vinay,  Lucielle Browning,  Thelma Votipka
    Conductor:  Jean Paul Morel,  François Morel,  Erich Leinsdorf,  Alexander Smallens  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra
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  • 19.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - Blanche Thebom
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89559 Release Date: 12/24/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hugo Wolf,  Gustav Mahler,  Richard Wagner,  Amilcare Ponchielli  ... 
    Performer:  Blanche Thebom,  William Hughes
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  Frieder Weissmann,  Warwick Braithwaite
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 20.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - Maartje Offers
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89549 Release Date: 02/26/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Adriaen Valerius,  Georges Bizet,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Tommaso Giordani  ... 
    Performer:  Maartjie Offers,  Herbert Dawson,  Tina Poli-Randaccio
    Conductor:  George Byng,  A. D. Van Buuren,  Sir Malcolm Sargent,  Albert Coates  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  String Quartet,  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 21.
    The Piano G & Ts Vol 3 / Chaminade, Saint-Saëns
    Label: Apr (Appian)   Catalog: 5533 Release Date: 10/30/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Cécile Louise Chaminade,  Camille Saint-Saëns
    Performer:  Cécile Louise Chaminade,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Gabriel Willaume,  Meyriane Héglon
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  • 22.
    Marina Domashenko - Opera Arias
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3285 Release Date: 07/31/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Georges Bizet,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Marina Domashenko
    Conductor:  Constantine Orbelian
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 23.
    Marina Domashenko - Opera Arias
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3285 Release Date: 07/31/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Georges Bizet,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Marina Domashenko
    Conductor:  Constantine Orbelian
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian Philharmonic Orchestra
    SuperAudio CD: $19.99
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  • 24.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - Sabine Kalter
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89533 Release Date: 06/26/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Johannes Brahms,  Richard Wagner,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Sabine Kalter,  Richard Tauber,  Hans Heinz Bollman
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  • 25.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - Maria Olszewska
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89526 Release Date: 04/24/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Genia Guszalewicz,  Else Knepel,  Maria Olszewska,  Emil Schipper  ... 
    Conductor:  Leo Blech,  Fritz Zweig,  Sir John Barbirolli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin State Opera Orchestra,  Orchestra
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