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
Saint-Saëns: Symphony No 3; Moussorgsky / De Waart, Rotterdam PO
Release Date: 09/23/2003   Label: Pentatone  
Catalog: 5186116   Number of Discs: 1
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Saint-Saëns: Symphonies No 1 & 2 / Inbal, Frankfurt Radio SO
Release Date: 09/20/2005   Label: Pentatone  
Catalog: 5186157   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Samson et Dalila, Op. 47: Mon coeur s'ouvre à ta voix

Browse 151-162 of 162 Available Recordings
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  • 151.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - Sigrid Onegin
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89027 Release Date: 02/07/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Giacomo Meyerbeer,  Christoph W. Gluck  ... 
    Performer:  Sigrid Onegin
    Conductor:  Rosario Bourdon,  Leo Blech,  Kurt Singer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  Berlin State Opera Orchestra,  Berlin Doctor's Chorus
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  • 152.
    The Art Of Emmi Leisner
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89210 Release Date: 02/07/1995   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Traditional,  Antonín Dvorák,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Raucheisen,  Emmi Leisner,  Kurt Grosse
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pozniak Trio
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  • 153.
    Pavarotti's Opera Made Easy - My Favorite Love Songs
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 443599 Release Date: 08/23/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Charles Gounod,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  William Matteuzzi,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Marilyn Horne,  Dame Joan Sutherland  ... 
    Conductor:  Giuseppe Patané,  Leone Magiera,  Henry Lewis,  Richard Bonynge  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bologna Teatro Comunale Orchestra,  Bologna Teatro Comunale Chorus,  Vienna Volksoper Orchestra  ... 
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  • 154.
    The World's Most Beautiful Melodies Vol 4 / Phillip Mccann
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 4521 Release Date: 07/26/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Phillip McCann,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Phillip McCann,  Simon Lindley
    Conductor:  Roy Newsome
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sellers Engineering Band,  Leeds Parish Church Boys' Choir
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  • 155.
    The Most Famous Opera Arias
    Label: Emi Classics Encore   Catalog: 68306 Release Date: 07/19/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giacomo Puccini,  Alfredo Catalani  ... 
    Performer:  Anna Moffo,  Edita Gruberova,  Nicolai Gedda,  Ghena Dimitrova  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis,  Bernard Haitink,  Thomas Schippers,  Lamberto Gardelli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Rome Opera House Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $3.99
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  • 156.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - Karin Branzell
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89039 Release Date: 03/31/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Georges Bizet,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Karin Branzell
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  • 157.
    Bel Canto - Famous Opera Arias
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 321931 Release Date: 03/15/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Christoph W. Gluck,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Luigi Cherubini,  Vincenzo Bellini  ... 
    Performer:  Brigitte Fassbaender,  Kurt Moll,  Edita Gruberova,  Lucia Aliberti  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Graf,  Kurt Eichhorn,  Lamberto Gardelli,  Heinz Wallberg  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Radio Chorus Women,  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 158.
    Callas - La Divina
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 54702 Release Date: 09/14/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Giacomo Puccini,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Pietro Mascagni  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Ebe Ticozzi,  Alfredo Kraus
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Georges Prêtre,  Antonino Votto,  Nicola Rescigno  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra  ... 
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  • 159.
    Concert For Planet Earth / Domingo, Marsalis, Chang
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 52570 Release Date: 12/08/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Carlos Jobim,  Joaquim Barroso Neto,  Leonard Bernstein,  Carlos Gardel  ... 
    Performer:  Antonio Carlos Jobim,  Gal Costa,  Placido Domingo,  Wynton Marsalis  ... 
    Conductor:  John DeMain
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rio de Janeiro Municipal Theatre Orchestra,  Wynton Marsalis Septet,  Rio de Janeiro Municipal Theatre Chorus
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  • 160.
    Prima Voce - Great Singers (1909-1938)
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7801 Release Date: 12/02/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Licinio Refice  ... 
    Performer:  Riccardo Stracciari,  Enrico Caruso,  Richard Tauber,  Claudia Muzio  ... 
    Conductor:  Giorgio Polacco,  Licinio Refice,  Giuseppe Antonicelli,  Lawrence Collingwood  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 161.
    Opera Without Words - Arias For Orchestra
    Label: Cbs Masterworks   Catalog: 44999 Release Date: 11/20/1989   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Conductor:  Andre Kostelanetz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Andre Kostelanetz Orchestra,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic
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  • 162.
    The Orchestra Sings - Great Operatic Themes For Orchestra / Dragon, Newman
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 65430 Release Date: 11/08/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gioachino Rossini,  Giacomo Puccini,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Conductor:  Carmen Dragon,  Alfred Newman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capitol Symphony Orchestra,  Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
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