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: Danse macabre in G minor, Op. 40

Browse 1-25 of 111 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    The Originals, Vol. 2
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: B002534902 Release Date: 09/09/2016   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Helmut Walcha,  Nathan Milstein,  Géza Anda,  Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli  ... 
    Conductor:  Ferenc Fricsay,  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Eugen Jochum,  Wolfgang Schneiderhan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $142.49
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  • 2.
    125 Years of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 241 Release Date: 06/24/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Hamish MacCunn,  Carl Nielsen,  George Enescu  ... 
    Performer:  Felicity Lott,  Lydia Mordkovitch
    Conductor:  Neeme Järvi,  Sir Alexander Gibson,  Bryden Thomson,  Matthias Bamert  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra,  Royal Scottish National Orchestra Chorus
    CD: $18.99
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  • 3.
    Un siecle de musique francaise (A Century of French Music)
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88875192862 Release Date: 05/13/2016   Number of Discs: 25
    Composer:  Pierre Boulez,  Claude Debussy,  Erik Satie,  Olivier Messiaen  ... 
    Performer:  Yvonne Minton,  Gervase de Peyer,  Michel Dalberto,  Daniel Varsano  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez,  Charles Munch,  Seiji Ozawa,  Richard Marlow  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Musique Vivante,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Cleveland Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $39.99
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  • 4.
    Carnival Fantasy / Salut Salon
    Label: Rhino (Dvd)   Catalog: 555056 Release Date: 04/22/2016  
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Traditional,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Jacques Ibert  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Salut Salon
    DVD: $24.99
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  • 5.
    Incantations / Quintessenz
    Label: Genuin Classics   Catalog: 16421 Release Date: 04/08/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Anže Rozman,  Claude Debussy,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quintessenz
    CD: $18.99
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  • 6.
    Carnival Fantasy / Salut Salon
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 554295 Release Date: 02/26/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Jacques Ibert,  Traditional,  Lhasa De Sela  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Salut Salon
    CD: $16.99
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  • 7.
    Round Midnight
    Label: Capriccio Records   Catalog: 5202 Release Date: 02/12/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry Purcell,  Robert Johnson,  Oskar Böhme,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Blechblaserquintett des Deutschen Symphonie-Orchesters Berlin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Blechbläserquintett des Deutschen Symphonie-Orches
    CD: $17.99
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  • 8.
    The Decca Sound [Repackaged Edition]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002434502 Release Date: 01/29/2016   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Claude Debussy,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Enrique Granados  ... 
    Performer:  Teresa Berganza,  Alfredo Campoli,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Cecilia Bartoli  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet,  Ataulfo Argenta,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Vladimir Ashkenazy  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $181.49
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  • 9.
    Salut Salon Live
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 553013 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leonard Bernstein,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Astor Piazzolla  ... 
    Performer:  Lara Jones,  Jule Hinrichsen,  Phoebe Scott
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Salut Salon!
    On sale! $18.98
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  • 10.
    The Complete HMV Recordings / Markevitch
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 552546 Release Date: 09/25/2015   Number of Discs: 18
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Richard Strauss,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Jacques Neilz,  Denyse Gouarne,  Fernand Dufrene,  Henri Bronschwak  ... 
    Conductor:  Igor Markevitch
    CD: $55.99
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  • 11.
    The Late Years - Erato and HMV Recordings, 1968-75 / Martinon
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 552547 Release Date: 09/25/2015   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Albert Roussel,  Aram Khachaturian,  Gabriel Pierné,  Francis Poulenc  ... 
    Performer:  Jean-Pierre Rampal,  Lily Laskine,  Marie-Claire Alain,  Robert Veyron-Lacroix  ... 
    Conductor:  Jean Martinon
    CD: $45.99
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  • 12.
    Saint-Saens: Symphony in F
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8573140 Release Date: 09/11/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns
    Performer:  Marika Faltskog
    Conductor:  Marc Soustrot
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Malmö Symphony Orchestra
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  • 13.
    Pierre Dervaux Conducts Saint-saens, Dukas, Herold, Boieldieu, Suppe, Nicolai, Weber, Brahms, Wagner, Glinka, Rossini
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2416 Release Date: 07/10/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Louis Ferdinand Herold,  François Boieldieu,  Franz v. Suppé,  Mikhail Glinka  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Dervaux
    On sale! $25.98
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  • 14.
    111 - The Piano - Legendary Recordings
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002281002 Release Date: 04/21/2015   Number of Discs: 40
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Robert Schumann,  Frédéric Chopin,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard,  Géza Anda,  Martha Argerich,  Daniel Barenboim  ... 
    CD: $168.99
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  • 15.
    Dark Hours: Mystic Moments Of Classical Music
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300613 Release Date: 01/27/2015   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gustav Mahler,  Franz Schubert,  Sergei Prokofiev  ... 
    Performer:  Siegfried Lorenz,  Elka Mitzewa,  Cécile Ousset,  Rosemarie Lang  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmut Koch,  Otmar Suitner,  Norman Shetler,  Witold Rowicki  ... 
    CD: $29.99
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  • 16.
    Saint-Saens: Symphony No 3
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 573331 Release Date: 01/13/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns
    Performer:  Vincent Warnier
    Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon National Orchestra
    Recommendation
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    CD: $9.99
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  • 17.
    Saint-saens: Symphony No. 3
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 45 Release Date: 01/13/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns
    Performer:  Vincent Warnier
    Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon National Orchestra
    Blu-ray Audio: $19.99
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  • 18.
    The Britannic Organ, Vol. 9
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 848 Release Date: 01/13/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Clarence Eddy,  Marco Enrico Bossi,  Dudley Buck,  Frederick F. Harker  ... 
    Performer:  Clarence Eddy,  Samuel Atkinson Baldwin,  W. Lynnwood Farnam,  Richard Epstein  ... 
    CD: $34.99
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  • 19.
    Classics For The People Vol 1 / Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94982 Release Date: 10/28/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Richard Wagner,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Sir Edward Elgar  ... 
    Performer:  Wynne Evans,  Donald Maxwell,  Deborah Norman
    Conductor:  Owain Arwel Hughes,  Philip Ellis,  Nick Davies
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Goldsmith's Choral Union Choir
    CD: $11.99
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  • 20.
    Phase 4 Stereo - Stereo Concert Series
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002188302 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 41
    Composer:  John Philip Sousa,  Charles A. Zimmerman,  Francis S. Van Boskerck,  George Norton  ... 
    Performer:  Stanley Black,  David Parkhouse,  Alan Loveday,  Robert Merrill  ... 
    Conductor:  Rodney Bashford,  Stanley Black,  Bernard Herrmann,  Edward Downes  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Grenadier Guards Band,  London Festival Orchestra,  London Festival Recording Ensemble  ... 
    CD: $168.99
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  • 21.
    Sir Adrian Boult - The Complete Conductor
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 1927023 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Gustav Holst,  Robert Simpson,  Sir Arthur Bliss  ... 
    Performer:  Felicity Palmer
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $38.98
    CD: $35.49
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  • 22.
    Decca Sound - The Analogue Years
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001934702 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 54
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Anton Bruckner,  Arnold Schoenberg,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Pascal Rogé,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Marilyn Horne,  Luciano Pavarotti  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit,  Sir Georg Solti,  Bernard Haitink,  Horst Stein  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $181.49
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  • 23.
    The Great French Pianists - The Original Piano Roll Recordings
    Label: Dal Segno   Catalog: 39 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Claude Debussy,  Gabriel Fauré,  Jacques Offenbach  ... 
    CD: $18.99
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  • 24.
    Ernest Ansermet - French Music
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 4807898 Release Date: 11/12/2013   Number of Discs: 32
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Hector Berlioz  ... 
    Performer:  Robert Gugolz,  Marie-Luise de Montmollin,  Nancy Waugh,  Suzanne Danco  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Union Chorale de la Tour-de-Peilz,  Geneva Motet Choir  ... 
    Recommendation
    CD: $109.99
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  • 25.
    Saint-saëns: Organ Symphony, Etc / Rawsthorne, Bátiz, Et Al
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1312627 Release Date: 08/13/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns
    Performer:  Noel Rawsthorne
    Conductor:  Loris Tjeknavorian,  Enrique Bátiz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra,  Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra,  Mexican State Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $9.99
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