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, Martinu: Violin Concertos / Scholz, Et Al
Release Date: 06/12/2001   Label: Berlin Classics  
Catalog: 1711   Number of Discs: 1
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Saint-saëns: Symphony No 3;  Poulenc: Concerto / Flor, Et Al
Release Date: 05/08/2007   Label: Berlin Classics  
Catalog: 1374   Number of Discs: 1
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Saint-saëns: Symphonies 2 & 3 / Tortelier, Weir, Ulster Orch
Release Date: 10/28/1992   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 8822   Number of Discs: 1
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Saint-saëns: Carnival Of The Animals;  Mozart / Turovsky
Release Date: 07/26/1994   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 9246   Number of Discs: 1
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Saint-saëns: La Princesse Jaune, Etc / Francis Travis, Et Al
Release Date: 10/24/2000   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 9837   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Samson et Dalila, Op. 47: Mon coeur s'ouvre ŕ ta voix

Browse 76-100 of 162 Available Recordings
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  • 76.
    The Movie Classics You Love
    Label: Vox Classics   Catalog: 97015 Release Date: 02/28/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Pietro Mascagni,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
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  • 77.
    Metropolitan Opera Gala - James Levine's 25th Anniversary
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000460209 Release Date: 11/22/2005  
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Charles Gounod,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Renée Fleming,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Jerry Hadley,  Bryn Terfel  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus
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  • 78.
    Carnegie Hall
    Label: Bel Canto Society   Catalog: 791 Release Date: 11/08/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Eduardo Di Capua  ... 
    Performer:  Jascha Heifetz,  Ezio Pinza,  Jan Peerce,  Artur Rubinstein  ... 
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner,  Artur Rodzinski,  Bruno Walter,  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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  • 79.
    Maria Callas - The Platinum Collection
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 32250 Release Date: 11/08/2005   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Christoph W. Gluck,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Tito Gobbi,  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  Nadine Sautereau  ... 
    Conductor:  Alceo Galliera,  Tullio Serafin,  Georges Prętre,  Nicola Rescigno  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  French National Radio Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra  ... 
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  • 80.
    The Complete Félia Litvinne and Selected Recordings by Natalya Yermolenko-Yuzhina
    Label: Marston   Catalog: 52049 Release Date: 09/13/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Alexander Borodin,  Alexander N. Serov  ... 
    Performer:  Natalia Yermolenko-Yuzhina,  David Yuzhin,  Félia Litvinne,  Alfred Cortot
    CD: $36.99
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  • 81.
    Marian Anderson: Rare Live Broadcast Performances
    Label: Vai Audio   Catalog: 1275 Release Date: 07/19/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Giovanni Bononcini,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Conductor:  Donald Voorhees
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  • 82.
    Amici Forever Defined
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 68883 Release Date: 06/21/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nick Patrick,  David Foster,  Aram Khachaturian,  Tomaso Albinoni  ... 
    Performer:  David Habbin,  Jo Appleby,  Tsakane Valentine,  Nicholas Garrett  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amici Forever
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  • 83.
    The Complete César Vezzani Vol 2
    Label: Marston   Catalog: 52045 Release Date: 04/01/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Giacomo Meyerbeer,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  César Vezzani,  Mireille Berthon,  Odette Ricquier,  Rose Heilbronner  ... 
    CD: $36.99
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  • 84.
    Arias /  Aldona Stempuzis
    Label: Legacy Collections   Catalog: 5637484502 Release Date: 03/22/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Christoph W. Gluck,  Gioachino Rossini,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Aldona Stempuzis
    CD: $19.99
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  • 85.
    A Survey Of European Zonophone Recordings 1901-1903
    Label: Symposium   Catalog: 1281 Release Date: 02/22/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean-Baptiste Fauré,  Richard Wagner,  Giacomo Meyerbeer,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Pol Plançon,  Giulio Rossi,  Leon Laffitte,  Rose Caron  ... 
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  • 86.
    100 Best Opera Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 862112 Release Date: 02/15/2005   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Gioachino Rossini,  Richard Wagner,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Gary Lakes,  Maria Callas,  Tito Gobbi,  Nicolai Gedda  ... 
    Conductor:  James Conlon,  Alceo Galliera,  Lamberto Gardelli,  James Levine  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 87.
    Original Masters - Grace Bumbry - Early Recordings
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4775250 Release Date: 02/08/2005   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Richard Wagner,  George Frideric Handel,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Grace Bumbry,  Sebastian Peschko,  Wolfgang Windgassen,  Erik Werba  ... 
    Conductor:  Wolfgang Sawallisch,  Maurice Abravanel,  Hans Löwlein,  János Kulka  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Utah Symphony Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Chorus  ... 
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  • 88.
    Label: Lisa Houston   Catalog: 5637375546 Release Date: 02/01/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Irving Berlin,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Christoph W. Gluck,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Lisa Houston
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  • 89.
    Violoncelle Et Opera / Grosgurin, Kanno
    Label: Gall (Formerly Gallo)   Catalog: 1133 Release Date: 11/30/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Daniel Grosgurin,  Jun Kanno
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  • 90.
    French Opera Arias / Graves, Soustrot, Monte-Carlo PO
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 62277 Release Date: 11/02/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Charles Gounod,  Hector Berlioz,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Denyce Graves
    Conductor:  Marc Soustrot
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 91.
    James Galway - Wings Of Song
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4775085 Release Date: 09/14/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Joaquin Rodrigo  ... 
    Performer:  James Galway,  Moray Welsh,  Jeanne Galway
    Conductor:  Klauspeter Seibel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 92.
    Rossini: Petite Messe Solenelle;  Wagner, Strauss/Barbirolli
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2254/55 Release Date: 03/30/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Richard Strauss,  Richard Wagner,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Ria Ginster,  Charles Kullman,  Leonard Warren,  Bruna Castagna  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Choir,  New York Philharmonic,  Schola Cantorum New York  ... 
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  • 93.
    Artist Portrait - Jose Cura
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 45339 Release Date: 03/16/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Alberto Ginastera,  Carlos Guastavino,  Francesco Cilča  ... 
    Performer:  José Cura,  Olga Borodina
    Conductor:  Placido Domingo,  Sir Colin Davis,  José Cura
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus
    CD: $12.99
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  • 94.
    Prima Voce - Clara Butt
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7912 Release Date: 03/02/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Gaetano Donizetti,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Clara Butt,  Landon Ronald,  Grace Torrens
    Conductor:  Henry Wood,  Sir Hamilton Harty,  Albert W. Ketčlbey
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  • 95.
    Prima Voce - Emmy Destinn
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7910 Release Date: 03/02/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Richard Wagner,  Giacomo Puccini,  Bedrich Smetana  ... 
    Performer:  Emmy Destinn,  Karl Jörn,  Maria Duchęne
    Conductor:  Bruno Seidler-Winkler
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  • 96.
    Label: Cello Classics   Catalog: 11010 Release Date: 03/01/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Benjamin Godard,  Frederick Delius  ... 
    Performer:  Douglas Cameron,  Ethel Bartlett,  Sir John Barbirolli,  W.H. Squire  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Eric Fenby,  Constant Lambert,  Christopher Finzi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Newbury String Players
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  • 97.
    My Figure Skating Album - All The Favourite Classics
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000186102 Release Date: 02/10/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Gustav Holst  ... 
    Performer:  Tamás Vásáry,  Gil Shaham,  Luben Yordanoff,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Yuri Ahronovitch,  Daniel Barenboim,  William Steinberg,  Carlo Maria Giulini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Orpheus Chamber Orchestra,  Orchestre de Paris  ... 
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  • 98.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - Margarete Klose Vol 2
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89583 Release Date: 01/27/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Christoph W. Gluck,  Claudio Monteverdi,  George Frideric Handel,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Margarete Klose,  A Boemi,  Tiana Lemnitz
    Conductor:  Robert Heger,  Hermann Abendroth,  Rudolf Kempe,  Arthur Rother  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prussian Staatskapelle Berlin,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 99.
    Saint-saëns: Le Carnaval Des Animaux, Septuor-fantasie
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 45603 Release Date: 01/13/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns
    Performer:  Frank Braley,  Gautier Capuçon,  Marie-Pierre Langlamet,  Renaud Capuçon  ... 
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  • 100.
    Rarities Of Piano Music At Schloss Vor Husum (2002)
    Label: Danacord   Catalog: 609 Release Date: 01/01/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Fats Waller,  Ignaz Friedman,  Frédéric Meinders,  Sergei Prokofiev  ... 
    Performer:  Frédéric Meinders,  Andreas Groethuysen,  Yaara Tal,  Enrico Pace  ... 
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