Image of Camille Saint-Saens

Camille Saint-Saëns

Camille Saint-Saëns was a French Late-Romantic composer, organist, conductor, and pianist.

Saint-Saëns was born in Paris, France, on 9 October 1835. His father, a government clerk, died three months after his birth. He was raised by his mother, Clémence, with the assistance of her aunt, Charlotte Masson, who moved in. Masson introduced Saint-Saëns to the piano, and began giving him lessons on the instrument. At about this time, age two, Saint-Saëns was found to possess perfect pitch. His first composition, a little piece for the piano dated 22 March 1839, is now kept in the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

Saint-Saëns' concertos and many of his chamber music works are both technically difficult and transparent, requiring the skills of a virtuoso. On the other hand, his purely piano music is often regarded as not quite as deep or as challenging as that of some of his contemporaries. These pieces fall stylistically somewhere between Liszt and Ravel with varying degrees of brilliance, transparency and idiomatic design.

Many of Saint-Saëns' later chamber and collaborative works – Second Violin Sonata, Second Cello Sonata, and Second Piano Trio, are less accessible to a listener than earlier pieces in the same form. As these works were produced at a time when Saint-Saëns was slipping out of popularity, they demonstrate much more willingness to experiment with progressive musical languages and to abandon popular lyrical charm in favor of more profound expression.

Although Saint-Saëns' wrote a diverse body of works, he is known especially for The Carnival of the Animals (one movement which is arranged below for bass), Danse macabre, Samson and Delilah, Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, Symphony No., Piano Concerto No. 2, and Cello Concerto No. 1.

Exclusive Saint-Saëns Scores for Strings from Ovation Press

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