Camille Saint-Saëns


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 51-75 of 95 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    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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  • 52.
    Variations On America - Organ Spectacular / Simon Preston
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 421731 Release Date: 01/30/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Philip Sousa,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Charles Ives,  Dudley Buck  ... 
    Performer:  Simon Preston
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  • 53.
    Pops Concert / Arthur Fiedler, Boston Pops
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 6213 Release Date: 12/11/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Ambroise Thomas,  George Frideric Handel,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Alfred Krips
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
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  • 54.
    Toon Time - Classical Music From Classic Cartoons
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 578011-12 Release Date: 11/18/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Igor Stravinsky,  Franz Schubert,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 55.
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 473999 Release Date: 08/26/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sidney Bechet,  Gustav Holst,  Alexander Borodin,  Jacques Offenbach  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duel
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  • 56.
    Toscanini Conducts Light Classics
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 6205 Release Date: 07/23/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Johannes Brahms,  Bedrich Smetana,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 57.
    Romantic Music For Two Pianos / Pierce, Jonas
    Label: Msr   Catalog: 1260 Release Date: 06/17/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Arthur Benjamin,  Benjamin Britten,  Witold Lutoslawski  ... 
    Performer:  Dorothy Jonas,  Joshua Pierce
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  • 58.
    Orford - Works For Six Pianos - Saint-saëns, Prokofiev, Gounod, Rossini, Etc / Murray, Perron, Godin, Et Al
    Label: Atma Classique   Catalog: 2566 Release Date: 05/27/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Charles Gounod,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Olivier Godin,  Lorraine Prieur,  Francis Perron,  Sandra Murray  ... 
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  • 59.
    In A Persian Market - Favorite Orchestral Works / Fiedler, Boston Pops
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 35037 Release Date: 03/26/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  George Enescu,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Emmanuel Chabrier  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 60.
    French Orchestral Works / Marriner, St Martin In The Fields
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 412131 Release Date: 03/12/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Emmanuel Chabrier,  Claude Debussy,  Paul Dukas  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 61.
    French Touch / Max Zorin, Vincent Balse
    Label: Cd Baby   Catalog: 5637532865 Release Date: 02/05/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jules Massenet,  Maurice Ravel,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Francis Poulenc
    Performer:  Max Zorina,  Vincent Balse
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  • 62.
    Reimagine / Anderson & Roe
    Label: Cd Baby   Catalog: 10143657 Release Date: 01/10/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Greg Anderson,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Astor Piazzolla,  Louis-Claude Daquin  ... 
    Performer:  Greg Anderson,  Elizabeth Joy Roe
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Anderson & Roe Piano Duo
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  • 63.
    Pieces For Two Pianos / Immerseel, Chevalier
    Label: Zig Zag   Catalog: 2030903 Release Date: 12/31/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francis Poulenc,  Manuel Infante,  César Franck,  Camille Saint-Saëns
    Performer:  Claire Chevalier,  Jos van Immerseel
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  • 64.
    Spectacular Dances / Stanley Black, Royal Philharmonic
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 444107 Release Date: 11/27/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Dmitri Kabalevsky,  Bedrich Smetana,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov  ... 
    Performer:  Alan Loveday
    Conductor:  Stanley Black
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 65.
    Gaubert: Les Chants De Mer - Recordings 1927-1940
    Label: Alpha Productions   Catalog: 801 Release Date: 09/01/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henri Duparc,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Philippe Gaubert  ... 
    Performer:  Philippe Gaubert
    Conductor:  Philippe Gaubert
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris
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  • 66.
    Oskar Fried - Mahler's Disciple
    Label: Arbiter   Catalog: 153 Release Date: 07/24/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Gustav Mahler,  Igor Stravinsky,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Astra Desmond
    Conductor:  Oscar Fried
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  All-Union Radio Orchestra  ... 
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  • 67.
    Toscanini Collection Vol 39 - Ravel, Dukas, Berlioz, Et Al
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 60322 Release Date: 06/04/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  César Franck,  Paul Dukas,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 68.
    Analekta Compilation Vol 8
    Label: Analekta   Catalog: 8 Release Date: 12/20/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Erik Satie,  Maurice Ravel,  Jean-Philippe Rameau  ... 
    Performer:  Geneviève Soly,  Francine Kay,  Luc Beauséjour,  James Ehnes  ... 
    Conductor:  Jean-François Rivest,  Jeanne Lamon,  Angèle Dubeau
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Carl Philipp Ensemble,  Tafelmusik,  La Pieta
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  • 69.
    Electronic Symphonica / David Kempers, Et Al
    Label: Four Winds   Catalog: 3027 Release Date: 09/19/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Christian Sinding,  Igor Stravinsky,  Gustav Holst,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  James Hebert,  Chris Harwood,  David Kempers,  Frederick R. Matzen  ... 
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  • 70.
    Encore - Dukas, Frank, Saint-Saens / Michel Plasson
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 55677 Release Date: 07/18/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Dukas,  César Franck,  Sylvio Lazzari,  Henri Duparc  ... 
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra
    CD: $5.99
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  • 71.
    Henry Merckel - Historical Recordings 1930-1935
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 1178 Release Date: 03/28/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Edouard Lalo
    Performer:  Henri Merckel
    Conductor:  Piero Coppola
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pasdeloup Concert Association Orchestra
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  • 72.
    Infernal Violins / Angèle Dubeau, La Pietà
    Label: Analekta   Catalog: 28723 Release Date: 02/17/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Keith Richards,  Luigi Boccherini,  Karol Szymanowski,  Manuel de Falla  ... 
    Performer:  Angèle Dubeau
    Conductor:  Angèle Dubeau
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Pieta
    CD: $22.49
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  • 73.
    Debussy, Dukas, Saint-saens: Orchestral Works / Ansermet
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1324 Release Date: 01/13/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Paul Dukas,  Camille Saint-Saëns
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris
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  • 74.
    Saint-saëns: Carnival Of The Animals, Etc / Ma, Biggs, Et Al
    Label: Sony Classical Essential Classics   Catalog: 87277 Release Date: 04/15/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns
    Performer:  E. Power Biggs,  Michel Cals,  Philippe Entremont,  Alain Marion  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy,  Philippe Entremont
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
    CD: $6.99
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  • 75.
    Dancing Flutes / Die 14 Berliner Flötisten
    Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm) Gold   Catalog: 3081114 Release Date: 08/27/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gerardo Matos Rodríguez,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  A. Malando,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  14 Berlin Flutes
    CD: $17.99
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