Author Topic: Camille Saint-Saëns  (Read 55142 times)

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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #160 on: June 07, 2016, 07:58:15 AM »
Discovering new works. The first movement of PC 1 is breathtaking.

Indeed. So much of Saint-Saens is breathtaking. Those PCs are no exception. What PC cycle are you listening to?
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Offline Jaakko Keskinen

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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #161 on: June 07, 2016, 08:05:51 AM »
Jean-Philippe Collard, Royal philharmonic orchestra. André Previn.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2016, 08:08:44 AM by Alberich »
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #162 on: June 08, 2016, 02:48:25 AM »
Jean-Philippe Collard, Royal philharmonic orchestra. André Previn.

Excellent cycle. My favorite cycle is this one with Anna Malikova:




"Competitions are for horses. Not artists." - Béla Bartók

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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #163 on: June 08, 2016, 07:40:00 PM »
Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) was a remarkable composer.  Among his credits:

1. Saint-Saens has been described as the “French Mendelssohn”
2. Franz Liszt regarded Saint-Saens as the greatest organist in the world.
3. Saint-Saens was an acclaimed virtuoso pianist.
4. Highly precocious, Saint-Saens composed his first piece at age 3.
5. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he was regarded in the US and UK as France’s greatest living composer.
6. Saint-Saens wrote outstanding music in virtually every genre, including:

-sonatas for violin & piano and cello & piano
-chamber - trios for piano
-chamber - other (incl quartets, quintets, septets)
-vocal and choral (including a Mass and a Requiem)
-concerti (5 for piano, 3 for violin, and 2 for cello)
-symphonies (3 in all, including his “Organ Symphony”)
-symphonic poems
-operas (13 in all, including “Samson et Dalila”)
-misc (“Danse Macabre”, “ Le Rouet d'Omphale” and “Carnival of the Animals”)



Saint-Saëns was a brilliant orchestrator and pianist, and he wrote many masterpieces that are standards in the repertoire, including his piano concerti numbers 2, 4, and 5; his “Organ Symphony,” his “Danse Macabre,” his “Messe de Requiem”, his piano trios, and other stuff. 

Marvelous, delightful stuff.  8)

I simply never listen to the guy. No interest, maybe that will change, but of the music I know of Saint-Saens it simply lacks depth, with the exception of The Swan...

Offline Scion7

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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #164 on: June 08, 2016, 08:48:20 PM »
Sigh.
What a narrow vision of a fantastic composer.
The Germans, who make doctrines out of everything, deal with music learnedly; the Italians, being voluptuous, seek in it lively, though fleeting, sensations; the French, more vain than perceptive, manage to speak of it wittily; and the English pay for it . . . - Stendhal

Offline Christo

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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #165 on: June 08, 2016, 11:58:59 PM »
… music is not only an 'entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #166 on: June 09, 2016, 01:02:47 AM »
Be kind to your fellow posters!!

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #167 on: June 09, 2016, 03:35:14 AM »
I simply never listen to the guy. No interest, maybe that will change, but of the music I know of Saint-Saens it simply lacks depth, with the exception of The Swan...

Lacks depth? You evidently haven't spent any time with the symphonies, chamber music, or the concertante works. Plus, if you have no interest in the composer, then why come to his composer thread in the first place?
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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #168 on: June 09, 2016, 03:36:38 AM »
Mine too, Now for sale at JPC (Germany): https://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/art/Camille-Saint-Saens-1835-1921-Klavierkonzerte-Nr-1-5/hnum/2857715

Excellent, Johan. As Neal pointed out, those Audite sets, especially that one, hardly ever go on sale.
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Offline mjmosca

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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #169 on: July 02, 2016, 02:30:30 PM »
Mine too, Now for sale at JPC (Germany): https://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/art/Camille-Saint-Saens-1835-1921-Klavierkonzerte-Nr-1-5/hnum/2857715

I agree that the Malikova/Sanderling set is superb- joins Collard/Previn and Roge/Dutoit as favorites. They all permit the music to unfold naturally, never rushed. All great works!

Offline mjmosca

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Re: The Saint-Saëns Sanctuary
« Reply #170 on: July 02, 2016, 02:44:58 PM »
Michel's enthusiastic embrace of Saint-Saëns First Piano Concerto (I don't know it nearly as well as the beloved Second Piano Concerto):

What great stuff Saint-Saen's Piano Concerto No.1 in D Major is!

I am certain it is under-rated. To me, it sounds like a mixture of Tchaikovskian orchestral melodies, and Beethovian rhythm, structure and dynamics (one thinks of his 2nd and 3rd). The oscillation between moments of solo or moderately accompanied virtuosity and the orchestra, with abundant clarity and precision, remind me structurally of Beethoven's 3rd. In short, there is what there is in all Beethoven's piano concertos: a magnificent balance between piano and orchestra.

I am completely captivated by the Saint-Saens' First Piano Concerto. The beautiful "Outdoors" quality of the first movement and then that exceptionally dark second movement are magnificent, and I love the exuberant final movement. The ridiculous comments about S-S lacking profundity are usually stated by people who are clearly ignorant of so much of his music. I am hoping to hear this concerto in a live concert performance some day- but not an easy task in the US! I really enjoy your commentary.

It also seems ludicrous to suggest, as some critics have, that Saint-Saens lacked profundity and so on. Not only, of course, is it completely idiotic to suggest that good music must have profundity, but I think it is completely false if one looks at the 2nd movement of the 1st Piano Concerto with its slow, tired negativity that echoes Beethoven - this time the 2nd movement of the 7th Sonata. Certainly, I think this slow movement is less brilliant than Beethoven's majestic subtly - some may even call it insincere - but the emotional depth is, I think, still there loud and clear.

Even taken as a whole, this D Major concerto somewhat mirrors Beethoven’s 3rd (and arguably the 5th) as it has a very dominant theme in the first movement, outward looking and at times celebratory, followed by a far more insular and intimate second movement, ended by a real memorable and indulgent blast. I am sure I once read that Saint-Saens is sometimes compared to Beethoven, and this early PC certainly illustrates that argument well.

One other observation is the use of staccato in places in the final movement that I haven't previously noticed (repeated also in his PC2 first movement rather significantly). Saint-Saens injects a Prokofieven jovialness into this movement, but is then peculiarly - though interestingly - contrasted by an almost hideously dreamy and repetitive piano melody reminiscent of a later Rachmaninov (like the ghastly Rach 3!). But what this does show, I think, is that Saint-Saens was a marvellously talented composer; echoing the past whilst predating that which followed, and writing music of subtlely, depth and sophistication that as a compliment is so ofen denied. This first piano concerto, whatever is weaknesses, is a piece of music underappreciated by, it seems, a really great number of classical music "fans".

What do you think of this Piano Concerto, or his other piano concertos, or his other work in general?


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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #171 on: July 02, 2016, 10:39:08 PM »
I agree that the Malikova/Sanderling set is superb- joins Collard/Previn and Roge/Dutoit as favorites. They all permit the music to unfold naturally, never rushed. All great works!

Welcome to the forum! :)

Q

Offline mjmosca

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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #172 on: July 03, 2016, 03:28:01 AM »
I've never heard the OBOE SONATA . . . . . . Thanks for the tip! . . . . . .  8)

You have a real treat in store for you! The three woodwind sonatas [oboe, clarinet and bassoon] that Saint-Saens wrote in his last year, 1921 are all exceptional masterpieces! They have a sense of timelessness that seems to come to composers late in life. S-S's chamber works are among his very best and most important. The 2 Cello sonatas, 2 Violin Sonatas, 2 String quartets, Piano Quintet and the 2 Piano quartets, the 2 Trios, and the Trumpet Septet (which Martin Cooper pointed out sets the path for Stravinsky's Neo-classical phase 50 years earlier!) are all great works. happy listening.
BTW- the Naxos recording of the Cello sonatas is very fine and readily available and also has the superb early Suite for Cello and Piano. 

Offline Maestro267

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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #173 on: July 03, 2016, 11:03:07 PM »
The opening post speaks of "3 symphonies" by Saint-Saëns, when there are actually five. An un-numbered Symphony in A, and the "Urbs Roma" Symphony in F.

Offline mjmosca

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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #174 on: July 04, 2016, 02:27:42 AM »
The opening post speaks of "3 symphonies" by Saint-Saëns, when there are actually five. An un-numbered Symphony in A, and the "Urbs Roma" Symphony in F.

And they are both marvelous works! I had the pleasure of hearing Martinon conduct the Symphony in A in 1976, live, and it was a delight. It was about this time that a graduate student at U. of Connecticut (I think his name is David Fallon... all this is from memory!) did his thesis on the Symphonies of Saint-Saens and copied out the manuscripts of the Symphony in A and the Urbs Roma Symphony, which then could be published. This lead to Martinon's ground breaking recordings of all 5 symphonies. That set should be in the collection of every music lover. A source of joy! thank you.

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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #175 on: October 17, 2016, 07:50:44 AM »
Why isn't The Piano Quartet in B flat major, Op. 41 talked much about? This is a discovery for me. I think it's excellent. Today I received this disc of the work:



Just like Fauré, Saint-Saëns is a brilliant French composers who is somewhat overlooked apart from a selection of well-known works.
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Offline mjmosca

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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #176 on: October 19, 2016, 03:04:01 AM »
Why isn't The Piano Quartet in B flat major, Op. 41 talked much about? This is a discovery for me. I think it's excellent. Today I received this disc of the work:



Just like Fauré, Saint-Saëns is a brilliant French composers who is somewhat overlooked apart from a selection of well-known works.
I mentioned the Piano quartet opus. 41 above; and this recording is excellent of all 3 of these superb works. The Piano Quartet is a GREAT work- should be played all the time in chamber concerts. I have no idea why it is not better known- also interesting in that there is no real slow movement- the first movement is probably the slowest paced of the four movements. Completely agree -this is a beautiful work!. Also the 2 string quartets - which were left on the shelf for decades- I think that the first recordings of the string quartets were made in the 1980's. I suspect that Saint-Saens's music is not taught in our music conservatories. thank you for posting this.

Offline JRJoseph

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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #177 on: March 27, 2017, 03:34:53 PM »
Just to add a few more interesting works to Saint-Saens list.  He actually composed five symphonies. two with no number.  One of them was written at age 15 in school.  I have the set of five conducted by Jean Martinis on EMI Angel.  Also, I have a ballet named Javotte and the second work on this Marco Polo CD is entitled Payrsatis, another ballet.  Very pleasant to listen to but by no means great music.  It is amazing to me that he wrote so much music and so little is actually played today and much of it unknown.

Offline Jaakko Keskinen

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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #178 on: August 27, 2017, 07:12:50 AM »
Might as well report it here too: I finished listening, for the first time, a hidden gem by Saint-Saëns, Le timbre d'argent.
"Javert, though frightful, had nothing ignoble about him. Probity, sincerity, candor, conviction, the sense of duty, are things which may become hideous when wrongly directed; but which, even when hideous, remain grand."

- Victor Hugo

Offline Der Titan

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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #179 on: August 27, 2017, 02:28:32 PM »
Saint Saens is certainly  a wonderfull composer. His symphonies ( I have the Martinon) are of course a mixed bag, the 3rd very famous, the 2nd quite good, the others written, when he was very young. The piano concertoes are splendid, they are more mature works than the symphonies. I have them twice, Hough and Roge, and prefer Hough. I have also a wonderfull CD "Complete works for Cello and Orchestra". This is a CD from Hänssler, Johannes Moser is playing, I would strongly recommend this CD, although his first cello concerto is of course the most famous piece, all other pieces on this CD are worthwhile  to  listen to. Another wunderfull CD are the works for violin and piano with Wallin/ Pöntinen ( CPO) which I enjoyed also a lot. Of course I know also the Carnival of the Animals. I know also some organ pieces, very good. And the 3rd violin concerto is also very good.

« Last Edit: August 27, 2017, 02:44:48 PM by Der Titan »