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

Children's Classics - Prokofiev, Saint-saŽns, Britten
Release Date: 09/09/2003   Label: Universal  
Catalog: 000100002   Number of Discs: 1
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Saint-saŽns: Violin Concerto No 2, Etc / Kantorow, Ollila
Release Date: 11/27/2001   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 1060   Number of Discs: 1
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Saint-saŽns: Organ Music / Hans Fagius
Release Date: 10/12/1994   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 556   Number of Discs: 1
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Capriccio - Saint-SaŽns: Music for Violin and Orchestra
Release Date: 08/05/2000   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 860   Number of Discs: 1
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Saint-saŽns: Africa, Symphony No 2, Etc / Kantorow
Release Date: 05/21/1996   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 790   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Introduction and Rondo capriccioso

Browse 126-135 of 135 Available Recordings
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  • 126.
    Itzhak Perlman - Greatest Hits
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 437737 Release Date: 05/11/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edouard Lalo,  Hector Berlioz,  Maurice Ravel,  Ernest Chausson  ... 
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim,  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de Paris,  New York Philharmonic
    CD: $15.99
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  • 127.
    Saint-saŽns: Piano Concertos 2 & 4, Etc / Entremont, Et Al
    Label: Sony Classical Essential Classics   Catalog: 48276 Release Date: 11/17/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-SaŽns
    Performer:  Pinchas Zukerman,  Leonard Rose,  Philippe Entremont
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra
    CD: $6.99
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  • 128.
    Saint-saŽns: Danse Macabre, Etc / Dutoit, Philharmonia Orch
    Label: London/Decca Jubilee   Catalog: 425021 Release Date: 05/12/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-SaŽns
    Performer:  Kyung-Wha Chung
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $10.99
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  • 129.
    Wieniawski, Vieutemps: Violin Concertos, Etc / Heifetz
    Label: Emi Classics Rťfťrences   Catalog: 64251 Release Date: 04/14/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henri Wieniawski,  Henri Vieuxtemps,  Camille Saint-SaŽns,  Pablo de Sarasate
    Performer:  Jascha Heifetz
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 130.
    Isaac Stern Collection - The Early Concerto Recordings Vol 2
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 45956 Release Date: 07/01/1991   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Leonard Bernstein,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Camille Saint-SaŽns,  Henri Wieniawski  ... 
    Performer:  Isaac Stern
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Dimitri Mitropoulos,  Eugene Ormandy,  Efrem Kurtz  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Symphony of the Air,  New York Philharmonic,  Philadelphia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $32.49
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  • 131.
    Celebration: A Life With Music / Isaac Stern
    Label: Cbs Masterworks   Catalog: 42003 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Franz Waxman,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  AntonŪn DvorŠk,  Ernest Bloch  ... 
    Performer:  Isaac Stern,  Alexander Zakin,  Eugene Istomin,  Leonard Rose  ... 
    Conductor:  Franz Waxman,  Isaac Stern,  Daniel Barenboim,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Symphony Orchestra,  Columbia String Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 132.
    Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto; Saint-Saens, Massenet / Salerno-Sonnenberg
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 49276 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-SaŽns,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Jules Massenet
    Performer:  Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Chamber Symphony
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  • 133.
    Saint-Saens, Sarasate, Chausson, Ravel / Perlman, Mehta
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 423063 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-SaŽns,  Maurice Ravel,  Ernest Chausson,  Pablo de Sarasate
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman,  Myor Rosen
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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  • 134.
    The Best Of Saint-saŽns
    Label: Emi Studio   Catalog: 69112 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-SaŽns
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Nathan Milstein,  Alexis Weissenberg,  Aldo Ciccolini  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Dervaux,  Sir Eugene Goossens,  Georges PrÍtre,  Walter Susskind
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de Paris,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Paris Opera Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 135.
    Rhythm Song / Evelyn Glennie
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 60242 Release Date: 04/10/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-SaŽns,  Keiko Abe,  Frťdťric Chopin,  Evelyn Glennie  ... 
    Performer:  Evelyn Glennie
    Conductor:  Barry Wordsworth,  Ray Russell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra
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