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: Marche Militaire Française

Browse 1-17 of 17 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Un siecle de musique francaise (A Century of French Music)
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88875192862 Release Date: 05/13/2016   Number of Discs: 25
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Pierre Boulez,  Emmanuel Chabrier,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Michel Dalberto,  Jean-Guihen Queyras,  Mathieu Dufour,  Eric Le Sage  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Munch,  Pierre Boulez,  Leonard Bernstein,  Hans Graf  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Trinity College Choir,  Cambridge Trinity College Choir,  Ensemble Incanto  ... 
    CD: $39.99
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  • 2.
    Mercury Living Presence - The Collector's Edition Vol 3
    Label: Mercury Living Presence   Catalog: 002275902 Release Date: 03/23/2015   Number of Discs: 53
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Lehár,  Emil Waldteufel,  Johann Strauss Jr.  ... 
    Performer:  Rafael Druian,  Georges Miquelle,  Eugene List,  Alfred Mouledous  ... 
    Conductor:  Antal Doráti,  Stanislaw Skrowaczewski,  Frederick Fennell,  Anatole Fistoulari  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Hungarica  ... 
    CD: $213.99
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  • 3.
    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-Saëns
    Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
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  • 4.
    Berlitz Passport - The Music Of France
    Label: Sony Classical Masterworks   Catalog: 47278 Release Date: 10/27/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Jacques Offenbach,  Claude-Joseph de Lisle,  Gabriel Fauré  ... 
    Performer:  Philippe Entremont,  Harold Gomberg
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel,  Leopold Stokowski,  Leonard Bernstein,  Sir Andrew Davis  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF National Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic  ... 
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 5.
    The Golden Age Of The Concert Band / United States Air Force Heritage Of America Band
    Label: Altissimo   Catalog: ALT17628 Release Date: 01/01/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry Fillmore,  Franz von Suppé,  Edwin Franko Goldman,  Herman Bellstadt  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  United States Air Force Heritage of America Band
    CD: $17.99
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  • 6.
    Over The Hills - And Far Away / Kristiansand Wind Ensemble
    Label: Two-l   Catalog: 31 Release Date: 02/27/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg,  Ole Borneman Bull,  Johan Halvorsen,  Johannes Hanssen  ... 
    Conductor:  Bjorn Sagstad
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kristiansand Wind Ensemble
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  • 7.
    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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  • 8.
    Label: Mark Records   Catalog: 5115 Release Date: 01/01/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johan de Meij,  Eric Whitacre,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Ralph Vaughan Williams  ... 
    Conductor:  Angela Woo,  Dario Sotelo
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kentucky All State Concert Band,  Kentucky All State Symphonic Band
    On sale! $15.98
    CD: $11.99
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  • 9.
    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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  • 10.
    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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  • 11.
    Française Et Américaine Musique / Waybright, University Of Florida Wind Ensemble
    Label: Mark Masters   Catalog: 3837 Release Date: 01/01/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Michael Daugherty,  Jacques Castérčde,  Florent Schmitt  ... 
    Conductor:  David Waybright
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  University of Florida Wind Ensemble
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    CD: $11.99
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  • 12.
    The Best Of Saint-saens
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8556675 Release Date: 09/15/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns
    Performer:  Dong-Suk Kang,  Idil Biret,  Imrich Szabo,  Peter Toperczer  ... 
    Conductor:  Antoni Wit,  James Loughran,  Richard Hayman,  Stephen Gunzenhauser  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra Katowice,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 13.
    French Bonbons / Parkes, Grimethorpe Colliery Band
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 4542 Release Date: 09/24/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Emmanuel Chabrier,  Georges Bizet,  Charles Gounod,  Benjamin Godard  ... 
    Performer:  Jonathan Beatty,  Mike Kilroy,  Richard Marshall
    Conductor:  Major Peter Parkes
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Grimethorpe Colliery Band
    CD: $11.99
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  • 14.
    Greatest Hits - Saint-saens
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 69251 Release Date: 11/14/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns
    Performer:  Yo-Yo Ma,  Michel Arrignon,  Gaby Casadesus,  Alain Marion  ... 
    Conductor:  Philippe Entremont,  Eugene Ormandy,  Lorin Maazel,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  ORTF National Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic  ... 
    CD: $9.99
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  • 15.
    Marches And Overtures Ŕ La Française / Paray, Detroit SO
    Label: Mercury Living Presence   Catalog: 434332 Release Date: 05/11/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Claude-Joseph de Lisle,  Jacques Offenbach,  Adolphe Adam  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Paray
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Detroit Symphony Orchestra
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  • 16.
    Majestic Marches / Hayman, Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550370 Release Date: 01/14/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov,  Giacomo Meyerbeer  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Hayman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $12.99
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  • 17.
    Stars & Stripes Forever And The Greatest Marches
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 60838 Release Date: 09/06/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Gershwin,  John Philip Sousa,  Edwin Eugene Bagley,  Johannes Hanssen  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
    CD: $8.99
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