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Camille Saint-saens


Charles-Camille Saint-Saens was born in Paris in 1835 to a widowed mother and her aunt, who introduced him to the piano and gave him his first lessons.1)

Early Genius

The child was a real genius, with perfect pitch at the age of two. At the age of five, he delivered his first public concert, accompanying a Beethoven violin sonata on the piano.2)


The name Saint-Saens is pronounced 'San-Sohn(ce),' with a suggestion of an's' at the end.3)


Saint-Saens, a young man, studied organ and composition at the Conservatoire de Paris. He won several awards and was finally introduced to Franz Liszt, who became one of his closest friends and supporters. Saint-Saens was dubbed “the best organist in the world” by Franz Liszt.4)


The composer's brilliant mind was not restricted to music. He was fascinated by - and knowledgeable about - geology, botany, butterflies, and mathematics. He enjoyed talks with Europe's top scientists and authored a number of scholarly works on acoustics.5)


Saint-Sans married Marie Laure Emile Truffot, who was just 19 years old, while he was approaching the age of 40. They had two boys, both of whom died within six weeks of each other, the first from sickness and the second from a fall from a window. Saint- Saens, who blamed his wife for the disaster, abandoned her. They never formally divorced.6)

Carnival Of The Animals

Saint-Saens was 51 years old when he composed two of his most renowned pieces, The Carnival of the Animals and Symphony No. 3 'Organ,' both of which were dedicated to Liszt, who died later that year. The Organ Symphony is most known for serving as the main theme in the 1995 picture Babe and its sequel, Babe: Pig in the City.7)

Organ Symphony

The Royal Philharmonic Society in the United Kingdom commissioned the Organ Symphony, and Saint-Saens traveled across the Channel to conduct its debut in the ancient St. James's Hall.8)

Film Music

'The Assassination of the Duke of Guise,' an 18-minute-long motion picture, was created by a team that also pushed well-known stage performers to appear in their films in order to get recognition. Later, Saint-Saens expanded his piece into a concert work, Opus 128 for strings, piano, and harmonium.9)

Saint-Saëns vs. Debussy

Saint-Saens did not get along with all of his peers. There was special hostility toward Claude Debussy, who famously said, “I have a detest of sentimentality and cannot forget that its name is Saint- Saens”. 10)

Organist, Pianist And Recording Artist

Saint-Saens was claimed to be “unrivaled on the organ” and “almost unrivaled on the piano.” His performing manner, on the other hand, has been described as'restrained, delicate, and calm.' He was one of the first pianists to explore with records, and he was the first-born musician to create a recording of his own work.11)


Although Saint-Saens was an early supporter of Wagner, he frequently harshly criticized the composer's music. Saint-Saens even lost contracts and received poor reviews in Germany at one time as a result of some especially severe statements he made regarding Wagner.12)


After writing his first symphony at 16 he went on to write four more, along with five piano concertos, three violin concertos, two cello concertos and some 20 concertante works for soloists and orchestra.13)

From Swan to Dying Swan

The Carnival of the Animals, written in 1886, was initially intended as a jest, and Saint-Saens was concerned that it would tarnish his name. He prohibited whole performances and only permitted the publication of one movement, The Swan, while he was still alive. After being created for famed dancer Anna Pavlova in 1905, the work became known across the world as The Dying Swan. She must have performed the piece 4,000 times.14)

Danse Macabre

The spooky Danse Macabre by Saint-Saens was originally created for voice and piano. Thankfully, the composer rebuilt it a few years later, replacing the voice with a violin and adding the entire orchestra.15)

camille_saint-saens.txt · Last modified: 2022/02/21 02:48 by eziothekilla34