Camille Saint-SaŽns


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

Work: Samson et Dalila, Op. 47: Bacchanale

Browse 26-41 of 41 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Saint-saŽns: 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-SaŽns
    Performer:  E. Power Biggs,  Michel Cals,  Philippe Entremont,  Alain Marion  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy,  Philippe Entremont
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 27.
    Classics - Orchestral Spectaculars / Kunzel, Cincinnati Pops
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80115 Release Date: 05/28/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Franz Liszt,  Camille Saint-SaŽns,  Jaromir Weinberger  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Kunzel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cincinnati Pops
    CD: $11.99
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  • 28.
    Dance Of The Hours - Ballet Favorites From Opera / Bonynge
    Label: London/Decca Opera Gala Series   Catalog: 458229 Release Date: 08/08/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Camille Saint-SaŽns,  Bedrich Smetana,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge,  IstvŠn Kertťsz,  Riccardo Chailly,  Ernest Ansermet  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra,  Bologna Teatro Comunale Orchestra  ... 
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 29.
    Virtuoso / Rolf Smedvig
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80550 Release Date: 01/25/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin,  Tomaso Albinoni,  Manuel de Falla,  Rafael Mendez  ... 
    Performer:  Eric Ruske,  Rolf Smedvig,  Richard Jensen,  Sam Pilafian  ... 
    Conductor:  Jahja Ling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Empire Brass,  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
    CD: $11.99
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  • 30.
    Offenbach: Gaite Parisienne, Etc / Slatkin, Hollywood Bowl
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 67248 Release Date: 11/16/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-SaŽns,  Aram Khachaturian,  Jules Massenet,  Lťo Delibes  ... 
    Conductor:  Felix Slatkin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
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  • 31.
    The Best Of Saint-saens
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8556675 Release Date: 09/15/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-SaŽns
    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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  • 32.
    Exotic Dances From The Opera / Eiji Oue, Minnesota Orchestra
    Label: Reference Recordings   Catalog: 71 Release Date: 04/30/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-SaŽns,  AntonŪn DvorŠk,  Anton Rubinstein,  Henri Rabaud  ... 
    Conductor:  Eiji Oue
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Minnesota Orchestra
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  • 33.
    Greatest Hits - Saint-saens
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 69251 Release Date: 11/14/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-SaŽns
    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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  • 34.
    An Evening With The Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 68860 Release Date: 10/17/1995   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Emmanuel Chabrier,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Emil Waldteufel  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Rabin,  Leonard Pennario
    Conductor:  Felix Slatkin,  Carmen Dragon,  Miklůs Růzsa,  Earl Bernard Murray  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
    On sale! $54.98
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  • 35.
    Can-Can and other Dances from the Opera
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550924 Release Date: 05/09/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin,  Manuel de Falla,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Conductor:  Johannes Wildner,  Adrian Leaper,  Barry Wordsworth,  Ondrej LenŠrd  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony,  Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 36.
    Saint-SaŽns: Symphony no 3 / DePreist, Royal Stockholm PO
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 555 Release Date: 10/12/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-SaŽns
    Performer:  Hans Fagius
    Conductor:  James DePreist
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $21.49
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  • 37.
    Class Brass - On The Edge
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80305 Release Date: 02/23/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Aaron Copland,  George Enescu,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
    Performer:  Eric Ruske,  Jeffrey Curnow,  Sam Pilafian,  Scott Hartman  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Empire Brass
    CD: $17.99
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  • 38.
    Saint-saŽns: Orchestral Works
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550138 Release Date: 02/05/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-SaŽns
    Performer:  Imrich Szabo
    Conductor:  Stephen Gunzenhauser
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bratislava CSR Symphony Orchestra
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  • 39.
    Lollipops / Beecham, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 63412 Release Date: 03/17/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Camille Saint-SaŽns,  Frederick Delius,  Hector Berlioz  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 40.
    French Opera Highlights / Paray, Detroit SO
    Label: Mercury Living Presence   Catalog: 432014 Release Date: 02/08/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Daniel-FranÁois Auber,  Louis Ferdinand Herold,  Ambroise Thomas,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Paray
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Detroit Symphony Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 41.
    Saint-Saens: Organ Symphony, Danse Macabre / Barenboim, Chicago SO
    Label: Dg Galleria   Catalog: 415847 Release Date: 05/30/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-SaŽns
    Performer:  Gaston Gilbert Litaize
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de Paris,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
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