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
Saint-Saëns: Symphony No 3; Moussorgsky / De Waart, Rotterdam PO
Release Date: 09/23/2003   Label: Pentatone  
Catalog: 5186116   Number of Discs: 1
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Saint-Saëns: Symphonies No 1 & 2 / Inbal, Frankfurt Radio SO
Release Date: 09/20/2005   Label: Pentatone  
Catalog: 5186157   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Danse macabre in G minor, Op. 40

Browse 26-50 of 120 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Magical Music Box
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 55477 Release Date: 04/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leopold Mozart,  Gabriel Pierné,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Strauss,  Marielle Labèque,  Katia Labèque
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Zubin Mehta,  John Lanchbery,  Herbert Blomstedt  ... 
    CD: $7.99
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  • 27.
    Munch Conducts Roussel & Other French Composers
    Label: Dutton Laboratories/Vocalion   Catalog: 9809 Release Date: 12/13/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Albert Roussel,  Camille Saint-Saëns
    Conductor:  Charles Munch
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  • 28.
    The Decca Sound [50-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001619902 Release Date: 11/15/2011   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: $175.49
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  • 29.
    The 50 Darkest Pieces Of Classical Music
    Label: X5 Music Group   Catalog: 108 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Edvard Grieg,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Ponti,  Finghin Collins,  Roland Pöntinen,  Emmy Berhey  ... 
    Conductor:  Volke Schmidt-Gertenbach,  Heribert Beissel,  David Parry,  James DePreist  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moyzes String Quartet,  Camerata Antonio Lucio,  Capella Istropolitana  ... 
    CD: $24.99
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  • 30.
    Creepy Classics: Halloween's Greatest Hits
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001594802 Release Date: 09/20/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  John T. Williams,  Jerry Goldsmith,  Bernard Herrmann  ... 
    Performer:  Simon Preston
    Conductor:  Sir Alexander Gibson,  John T. Williams,  John Mauceri,  Bernard Herrmann  ... 
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  • 31.
    La Dalbade - Yves Rechsteiner, Orgue De L'Eglise De La Dalbade A Toulouse
    Label: Alpha Productions   Catalog: 652 Release Date: 08/09/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Frédéric Chopin,  Louis Alfred James Lefébure-Wély,  César Franck  ... 
    Performer:  Yves Rechsteiner
    CD: $37.49
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  • 32.
    Liszt: Ad Nos, Ad Salutarum Undam; Reger, Franck, Saint-Saens / Ramirez
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94174 Release Date: 03/22/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Max Reger,  César Franck,  Camille Saint-Saëns
    Performer:  Raúl Prieto Ramírez
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  • 33.
    Saint-Saens: Symphonies 1, 2 & 3, Orchestral Works / Levi, Dubois, Orchestre National
    Label: Cascavelle   Catalog: 3136 Release Date: 03/08/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns
    Performer:  Vincent Dubois
    Conductor:  Yoel Levi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Orchestra
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  • 34.
    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-Saëns,  Georges Bizet,  Gabriel Fauré
    Performer:  Iveta Apkalna
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  • 35.
    Best Children's Classics 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 17626 Release Date: 01/11/2011   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman,  Katia Labèque,  Marielle Labèque,  Moura Lympany  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Riccardo Muti,  Simon Rattle  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $18.99
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  • 36.
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 648500 Release Date: 11/16/2010   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman,  Katia Labèque,  Marielle Labèque,  Moura Lympany  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Riccardo Muti,  Simon Rattle  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 37.
    Danse Macabre: Dances At Dusk From Liszt To Stravinsky
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300103 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Gustav Mahler,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Süher Pekinel,  Güher Pekinel,  Nelson Freire,  Christian Funke  ... 
    Conductor:  Jörg-Peter Weigle,  Günther Herbig,  Herbert Kegel,  Heinz Rögner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra,  Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 38.
    Live From The Heart Of Europe / Guido's Orchestra
    Label: eOne   Catalog: 4799 Release Date: 08/24/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Guido Dieteren,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Unspecified,  Billy May  ... 
    Performer:  Guido Dieteren,  Wendy Kokkelkoren,  Tommy Fleming
    Conductor:  Guido Dieteren
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Guido's Orchestra
    CD: $16.99
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  • 39.
    The Classic Sound - Ibert: Divertissement; Et Al / Martinon
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 448571 Release Date: 06/25/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jacques Ibert,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Georges Bizet,  Hector Berlioz
    Conductor:  Jean Martinon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris
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  • 40.
    Ravel: Bolero, Dukas: Sorcerer's Apprentice / Sir Neville Marriner
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 420812 Release Date: 04/08/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Albert William Ketèlbey,  Maurice Ravel,  Johannes Brahms,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Conductor:  Alexander Faris,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Kurt Masur,  Franz Bauer-Theussl
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Promenade Orchestra,  Ambrosian Chorus,  Dresden Staatskapelle  ... 
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  • 41.
    Anthology 2: Nbc So (1950-53)
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 7047 Release Date: 03/09/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Hector Berlioz,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Engelbert Humperdinck  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
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  • 42.
    Dance! - The World's Favorite Ice-Skating Music
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 58906 Release Date: 02/09/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jerry Herman,  Frédéric Chopin,  Vittorio Monti,  Dmitri Shostakovich  ... 
    Performer:  John Ogdon,  Vag Papian,  Maxim Vengerov,  Tasmin Little  ... 
    Conductor:  Julian Kelly,  Yuri Temirkanov,  Wolfgang Sawallisch,  Matt Dunkley  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Piccadilly Theatre Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 43.
    Vladimir Horowitz - Complete Original Jacket Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 757500 Release Date: 12/01/2009   Number of Discs: 70
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Dmitri Kabalevsky,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz,  Nathan Milstein
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 44.
    The Devil's Music
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8578085-86 Release Date: 09/29/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  Robert Schumann,  György Ligeti,  Johann Strauss Jr.  ... 
    Performer:  Samuel Ramey,  Idil Biret,  Laurent Martin,  Ashley Wass  ... 
    Conductor:  Julius Rudel,  Johannes Wildner,  Alfred Walter,  Christian Benda  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Orchestra,  Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Kosice Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 45.
    The Fantastic Philadelphians / Ormandy, Philadelphia Orchestra
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 38110 Release Date: 08/18/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Paul Dukas,  Emmanuel Chabrier  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 46.
    Cinema / Laurent Korcia
    Label: Apm {all Parts Move}   Catalog: 65642 Release Date: 07/28/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frank Churchill,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Franco Mannino,  George Gershwin  ... 
    Performer:  Camille,  Laurent Korcia,  Baptiste Vay,  Florian Frere  ... 
    Conductor:  Matthieu Gonet,  Michael Wendeberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  European Chamber Orchestra
    CD: $11.99
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  • 47.
    Bernstein Favorites - Orchestral Dances
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 46707 Release Date: 07/20/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leonard Bernstein,  Georges Bizet,  Johannes Brahms,  Emmanuel Chabrier  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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  • 48.
    Saint-saens: Symphony No 3,  / Martinon, Alain
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 5046655642 Release Date: 05/11/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns
    Performer:  Marie-Claire Alain
    Conductor:  Jean Martinon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $8.99
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  • 49.
    Ultimate Classical Spectacular - The Essential Masterpieces
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001274702 Release Date: 04/21/2009   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Maurice Ravel,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Performer:  Alan Loveday,  Christopher Warren-Green
    Conductor:  Esa-Pekka Salonen,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Charles Dutoit
    CD: $17.99
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  • 50.
    The Essential Vladimir Horowitz
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 741940 Release Date: 04/07/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Robert Schumann,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz
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