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: Samson Et Dalila / Rudel, Domingo, Verrett
Release Date: 11/28/2000   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 10   Number of Discs: 1
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Saint-Saëns: Samson et Dalila / Davis, Vickers, Verrett
Release Date: 12/20/2005   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 2288   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Samson et Dalila, Op. 47: Mon coeur s'ouvre à ta voix

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  • 1.
    Play - Works For Cello And Piano / Moreau, Hodique
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 636958 Release Date: 04/08/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vittorio Monti,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Niccolò Paganini,  Alexander Glazunov  ... 
    Performer:  Edgar Moreau,  Pierre Hodique
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  • 2.
    Ne me refuse pas; Handel: Streams of Pleasure / Marie-Nicole Lemieux
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 40039 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jules Massenet,  Luigi Cherubini,  Jacques Halévy,  Hector Berlioz  ... 
    Performer:  Marie-Nicole Lemieux,  Karina Gauvin
    Conductor:  Fabien Gabel,  Alan Curtis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Orchestra,  Il Complesso Barocco
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  • 3.
    French Opera Arias / Sonia Ganassi
    Label: Bongiovanni   Catalog: 2564 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Charles Gounod,  Ambroise Thomas  ... 
    Performer:  Sonia Ganassi
    Conductor:  Carla Delfrate
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Marchigiana Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 4.
    Celibidache - The Berlin Recordings 1945-1957
    Label: Audite   Catalog: 21423 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Samuel Barber,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hector Berlioz,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Raoul Koczalski
    Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 5.
    La Passion Lemieux
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5340 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jules Massenet,  Hector Berlioz,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Marie-Nicole Lemieux
    Conductor:  Fabien Gabel,  Bernard Labadie,  Alan Curtis,  Jean-Christophe Spinosi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Orchestra,  Les Violons du Roy,  Il Complesso Barocco  ... 
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  • 6.
    Voices of French Opera [5-CD Set]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 280462 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Jean-Baptiste Lully,  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Christoph W. Gluck,  André Modeste Grétry  ... 
    Performer:  Véronique Gens,  Miguel Villabella,  Solange Petit-Renaux,  Patricia Petibon  ... 
    Conductor:  Christophe Rousset,  Maurice Cauchie,  John Eliot Gardiner,  Henri Tomasi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Talens Lyriques,  Les Folies Françoises,  Monteverdi Choir  ... 
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  • 7.
    Valentina Levko - Star Of The Bolshoi
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 9406 Release Date: 05/28/2013   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Henry Purcell,  Alessandro Stradella,  Andrea Falconieri  ... 
    Performer:  Valentina Levko,  Mark Lubotsky,  Grigory Zinger,  Liya Mogilevskaya  ... 
    Conductor:  Adolf Bruk,  Juozas Domarkas,  Alexander Lazarev,  Kurt Masur  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra,  Moscow Philharmonic Chamber Ensemble,  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $48.99
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  • 8.
    Montserrat Caballe - The Diva [6-CD Set]
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 548834 Release Date: 05/07/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Vincenzo Bellini  ... 
    Performer:  Montserrat Caballé,  Maya Sunara,  Corinna Vozza,  Sherrill Milnes  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly,  Anton Guadagno,  Carlo Felice Cillario,  Sir Georg Solti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra London,  RCA Italian Opera Orchestra,  RCA Italian Opera Chorus  ... 
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  • 9.
    Label: Bellavoce   Catalog: 7702259 Release Date: 05/03/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Nan Merriman,  Bruna Rizzoli,  Sophia Van Sante,  Elisabeth Lugt  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Basile,  Jean Fournet,  Eugen Jochum
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  • 10.
    50 Best Sensual Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 333022 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  James Horner,  Pietro Mascagni,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Nino Rota  ... 
    Performer:  Jean-Bernard Pommier,  Cécile Ousset,  Mikhail Rudy,  Natasha Marsh  ... 
    Conductor:  Mariss Jansons,  Lawrence Foster,  Simon Rattle,  François-Xavier Roth  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Cellists,  Ahn Trio,  Virtuosi
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  • 11.
    Icon - Brigitte Fassbaender [8-CD Set]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 829682 Release Date: 02/05/2013   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Franz Schubert,  Hugo Wolf,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Brigitte Fassbaender,  Karl Engel,  Erik Werba,  Wolfgang Sawallisch  ... 
    Conductor:  Wolfgang Baumgart,  Lawrence Foster,  Jeffrey Tate,  Wolfgang Eber
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capella Bavariae,  Bavarian State Opera Chorus,  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 12.
    The Edison Legacy Vol. 2
    Label: Marston   Catalog: 53014 Release Date: 12/18/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Pietro Mascagni,  Charles Gounod,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Adelina Agostinelli,  Carlo Albani,  Oreste Benedetti,  Celestina Boninsegna  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus
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  • 13.
    Romantique / Elina Garanca
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001752202 Release Date: 10/22/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Elina Garanca
    Conductor:  Yves Abel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bologna Teatro Comunale Orchestra
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  • 14.
    Icon: Maria Callas - La Divina
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 23401 Release Date: 09/18/2012   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Francesco Cilèa,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Giuseppe Morresi,  Ebe Stignani,  Raffaele Arié  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Nicola Rescigno,  Georges Prêtre
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $42.99
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  • 15.
    Maria Callas - The Studio Recitals
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 59776 Release Date: 08/28/2012   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Francesco Cilèa,  Umberto Giordano,  Alfredo Catalani  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Monica Sinclair,  John Lanigan,  Joseph Rouleau  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Nicola Rescigno,  Georges Prêtre,  Antonio Tonini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Philharmonia Chorus  ... 
    CD: $54.99
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  • 16.
    Opera Arias
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001707702 Release Date: 07/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Jacques Offenbach,  Alfredo Catalani  ... 
    Performer:  Renata Tebaldi,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Huguette Tourangeau  ... 
    Conductor:  Lamberto Gardelli,  Richard Bonynge,  Fausto Cleva,  Silvio Varviso  ... 
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  • 17.
    The Very Best Of Paul Tortelier
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 21730 Release Date: 07/17/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Johannes Brahms,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Tortelier,  Maria de La Pau,  Max Rostal,  Shuku Iwasaki  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Tortelier,  Jörg Faerber,  Rudolf Kempe,  Sir Adrian Boult  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 18.
    Storyteller / Tine Thing Helseth
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 0883282 Release Date: 01/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Antonín Dvorák,  Léo Delibes,  Jean Sibelius  ... 
    Performer:  Tine Thing Helseth
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  • 19.
    Classical 2012 / Angela Gheorghiu, David Fray, Alison Balsom, Jonas Kaufmann
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 6804032 Release Date: 01/10/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Gioachino Rossini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Angela Gheorghiu,  Jonas Kaufmann,  Natalie Dessay,  Alison Balsom  ... 
    Conductor:  Marco Armiliato,  Antonio Pappano,  Emmanuelle Haïm,  Alison Balsom  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Ensemble,  London Steve Reich Ensemble,  Les Talens Lyriques  ... 
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  • 20.
    Homage To Maria Callas / Angela Gheorghiu
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 84377 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Georges Bizet,  Alfredo Catalani,  Luigi Cherubini  ... 
    Performer:  Angela Gheorghiu,  James Valenti
    Conductor:  Marco Armiliato
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 21.
    Homage To Maria Callas / Angela Gheorghiu [Deluxe Edition]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 31509 Release Date: 11/01/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Georges Bizet,  Alfredo Catalani,  Luigi Cherubini  ... 
    Performer:  Angela Gheorghiu,  James Valenti
    Conductor:  Marco Armiliato
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    On sale! $26.98
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  • 22.
    Label: X5 Music Group   Catalog: 106 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  George Frideric Handel,  Georges Bizet,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  José Carreras,  Yoshikazu Mera,  Victoria Anderson,  Charles K.L. Davis  ... 
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  • 23.
    The Opera Album 2011
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001566102 Release Date: 06/14/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Giacomo Puccini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Alfredo Catalani  ... 
    Performer:  Bryn Terfel,  Anna Netrebko,  Andrea Bocelli,  Jonas Kaufmann  ... 
    Conductor:  Barry Wordsworth,  Gianandrea Noseda,  Zubin Mehta,  Antonio Pappano  ... 
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  • 24.
    Melodies Of Love And Death - Opera Senza Parole / Osiris Trio
    Label: Challenge   Catalog: 72373 Release Date: 06/01/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Georges Bizet,  Gaetano Donizetti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Osiris Trio
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  • 25.
    Berlin Opera Night / Nagano, Berlin Deutsche Opera
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2053589 Release Date: 04/26/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giacomo Puccini,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Galouzine,  Anne Schwanewilms,  Adrianne Pieczonka,  Angelika Kirchschlager  ... 
    Conductor:  Kent Nagano
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
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