Camille Saint-SaŽns

Biography

Born: Oct 9, 1835; France   Died: Dec 16, 1921; Algeria   Period: Romantic
Camille Saint-SaŽns 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 bourťe 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-SaŽns 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 Halťvy. 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 …cole 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-SaŽns 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-SaŽns developed a fondness for Faurť and his family, acting as a second father to Faurť'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-SaŽns' 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-SaŽns 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
Grand Tier - Saint-SaŽns: Samson et Dalila / Fournet, Vickers
Release Date: 06/13/2006   Label: Opera D'oro  
Catalog: 7028   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: Samson et Dalila, Op. 47: Bacchanale

Browse 1-25 of 58 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Voices of Firestone DVD 4-Pack - Bjorling, Sutherland, Merrill, Stevens
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 4938 Release Date: 04/07/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Rodgers,  Georges Bizet,  Rudolf Friml,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  RisŽ Stevens,  Jussi BjŲrling,  Anne-Lisa BjŲrling,  Dame Joan Sutherland  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge,  Howard Barlow
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Voice of Firestone Orchestra
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  • 2.
    Mercury Living Presence - The Collector's Edition Vol 2
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001831802 Release Date: 06/04/2013   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Arnold Schoenberg,  Anton Webern,  Alban Berg,  Ottorino Respighi  ... 
    Performer:  Helga Pilarczyk,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Mihaly Szťkely,  Olga SzŲnyi  ... 
    Conductor:  Antal DorŠti,  Rafael Kubelik,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Frederick Fennell  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Hungarica  ... 
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  • 3.
    Discoveries / Gustavo Dudamel
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001709702 Release Date: 09/25/2012  
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Anton Bruckner,  Dmitri Shostakovich  ... 
    Conductor:  Gustavo Dudamel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela,  Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 4.
    Discoveries / Gustavo Dudamel [CD + DVD]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001725300 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Anton Bruckner,  Dmitri Shostakovich  ... 
    Conductor:  Gustavo Dudamel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela,  Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 5.
    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-SaŽns
    Conductor:  Neeme Jšrvi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
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  • 6.
    French Ballet Music  / Beecham
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 6790012 Release Date: 03/26/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Camille Saint-SaŽns,  Hector Berlioz,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
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  • 7.
    Fete a la Francaise / Dutoit, Montreal Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 421527 Release Date: 10/17/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Dukas,  Emmanuel Chabrier,  Ambroise Thomas,  Camille Saint-SaŽns  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Orchestra
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  • 8.
    Sir Thomas Beecham: French Music - Berlioz, Bizet, Delibes, Debussy, Faure, Etc.
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 9932 Release Date: 03/22/2011   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Georges Bizet,  Charles Gounod,  Lťo Delibes  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF National Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Beecham Choral Society  ... 
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  • 9.
    New Year's Eve Concert 2010  / Garanca, Dudamel, Berlin Philharmonic
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001529409 Release Date: 03/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Camille Saint-SaŽns,  Georges Bizet,  Manuel de Falla  ... 
    Performer:  Elina Garanca
    Conductor:  Gustavo Dudamel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 10.
    The World Of Ballet / Anatole Fistoulari
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4802391 Release Date: 11/19/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Camille Saint-SaŽns,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Conductor:  Anatole Fistoulari
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Conservatoire Orchestra,  New Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
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  • 11.
    French Ballet Music - Delibes, Et Al / Beecham, Royal Po
    Label: Emi Great Recordings Of The Century   Catalog: 31816 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  Lťo Delibes,  Jules Massenet,  Camille Saint-SaŽns  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 12.
    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-SaŽns
    Performer:  Josť 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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  • 13.
    A Festival Of Ballet
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 67063 Release Date: 01/26/2010   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Gustav Holst,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Performer:  Barbara Hendricks,  Susan Bickley,  Lorraine Hunt Lieberson,  Catherine Pierard  ... 
    Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe,  Andrť Previn,  Paavo Jšrvi,  Sir Charles Mackerras  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 14.
    Exotic Dances From The Opera / Eiji Oue, Minnesota Orchestra
    Label: Reference Recordings   Catalog: 712 Release Date: 11/10/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Richard Strauss,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Conductor:  Eiji Oue
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Minnesota Orchestra
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  • 15.
    Metropolitan Opera Centennial Gala (1983)
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001326309 Release Date: 09/15/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Camille Saint-SaŽns,  Claude Debussy,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Grace Bumbry,  Renato Bruson,  Ileana Cotrubas,  Montserrat Caballť  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine,  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 16.
    Classical Prep School - Essential Music
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80749 Release Date: 08/11/2009   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Camille Saint-SaŽns,  Richard Wagner,  Edvard Grieg  ... 
    Performer:  John O'Conor,  James Van Demark,  Rudolf Serkin,  Michael Chertock  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Bishop,  Yoel Levi,  Erich Kunzel,  Lorin Maazel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Atlanta Symphony Orchestra,  Cincinnati Pops,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 17.
    Bernstein Favorites - Opera For Orchestra
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 46714 Release Date: 07/06/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Alexander Borodin,  Georges Bizet,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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  • 18.
    1001 Nights - Breezes From The Orient / Schneidt, Guida, Ottenthal
    Label: Phoenix Edition   Catalog: 420 Release Date: 05/26/2009   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ernest Reyer,  Karol Szymanowski,  Peter Cornelius,  Christoph W. Gluck  ... 
    Performer:  Gertrud von Ottenthal,  Bruno Lazzaretti,  Roberto Servile,  Georg Donderer  ... 
    Conductor:  Guido Maria Guida,  Hanns-Martin Schneidt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin RIAS Chamber Chorus,  Berlin St. Hedwigs Cathedral Chorus
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  • 19.
    Just Classics 2: The Gold Collection
    Label: Abc Classics   Catalog: 854485 Release Date: 05/19/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  AntonŪn DvorŠk,  Ottorino Respighi,  Simon Jeffes  ... 
    Performer:  Fiona Campbell,  Sara Macliver
    Conductor:  Benjamin Northey
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  • 20.
    The Fantastic Philadelphians - A Dazzling Dance Spectacular / Ormandy
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 38128 Release Date: 04/24/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leroy Anderson,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Manuel de Falla  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 21.
    Label: Ars Produktion   Catalog: 38038 Release Date: 01/01/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-SaŽns
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  • 22.
    The Royal Edition - Ballet Music / Bernstein
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 47600 Release Date: 03/12/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin,  Charles Gounod,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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  • 23.
    Label: United States Navy Band   Catalog: ALT70112 Release Date: 01/01/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Gioachino Rossini,  Paul Dukas,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Conductor:  Ralph M. Gambone
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  • 24.
    Portraits In Sound / Leinsdorf, Concert Arts Orchestra
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 65205 Release Date: 10/09/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Emmanuel Chabrier,  Paul Dukas,  Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov,  Amilcare Ponchielli  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf,  Carmen Dragon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concert Arts Orchestra,  Capitol Symphony Orchestra
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  • 25.
    Saint-saŽns: Symphony No 3, Etc / Mansurov, Et Al
    Label: Vista Vera   Catalog: 96009 Release Date: 07/17/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-SaŽns
    Performer:  Rubin Abdullin,  Jusefina Sokolskaya,  Vadim Shashkin
    Conductor:  Fuat Mansurov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tartarstan State Symphony Orchestra
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