Author Topic: Camille Saint-Saëns  (Read 57408 times)

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Offline Scion7

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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #220 on: September 30, 2020, 03:47:56 PM »
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 Scion7

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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #221 on: October 10, 2020, 05:31:34 AM »
Yesterday was his birthday.  I was travelling and not able to post.

Romain Rolland put it this way:

The significance of Saint-Saens in art is a double one, for one must judge him from the inside as well as the outside of France. He stands for something exceptional in French music, something which was almost unique until lately: that is, a great classical spirit and a fine breadth of musical culture—German culture, we must say, since the foundations of all modern art rests on the German classics. French music of the 19th century is rich in clever artists, imaginative writers of melody, and skilful dramatists; but it is poor in true musicians and in good solid workmanship. Apart from two or three splendid exceptions, our composers have too much the character of gifted amateurs, who compose music as a pastime and regard it not as a special form of thought but as a sort of dress for literary ideas. Our musical education is superficial: it may be got for a few years in a formal way at a conservatory, but it is not within the reach of all; the child does not breathe music as, in a way, he breathes the atmosphere of literature and oratory; and although nearly everyone in France has an instinctive feeling for beautiful writing, only a very few people care for beautiful music. From this arise the common faults and failings in our music. It has remained a luxiurious art; it has not become, like German music, the poetical expression of the people's thought.

Happy birthday, Camille.

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 kyjo

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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #222 on: December 27, 2020, 09:02:34 PM »
Tonight I (re)discovered his Fantaisie for violin and harp, op. 124 (1907) in this wonderful live performance:

https://youtu.be/6JdVBULKACg

This work confirms why Saint-Saëns is one of my favorite composers. This is 14 minutes of sheer bliss. There's nothing academic, predictable, derivative, banal, or saccharine at all about this music (or most of S-S' music, for that matter). It's just beautiful music, superbly crafted and with just enough depth to make it truly satisfying. Truly soul-warming stuff. :)
« Last Edit: December 27, 2020, 09:04:32 PM by kyjo »
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Offline Scion7

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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #223 on: December 28, 2020, 12:12:30 AM »
Yes, he knew his stuff.  If more composers would polish their craft and go over their modern pieces with care and an unwavering editing knife to excise the glouff, it would be a better world in 21st century music.
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 Mirror Image

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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #224 on: December 28, 2020, 08:05:45 AM »
Tonight I (re)discovered his Fantaisie for violin and harp, op. 124 (1907) in this wonderful live performance:

https://youtu.be/6JdVBULKACg

This work confirms why Saint-Saëns is one of my favorite composers. This is 14 minutes of sheer bliss. There's nothing academic, predictable, derivative, banal, or saccharine at all about this music (or most of S-S' music, for that matter). It's just beautiful music, superbly crafted and with just enough depth to make it truly satisfying. Truly soul-warming stuff. :)

I’ll have to give this work a listen as it came on this recording I just received last week:



I’m also rather taken with much of Saint-Saëns’ music.
"Humility is society's greatest misconception."

Offline Christo

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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #225 on: December 28, 2020, 09:44:52 AM »
wonderful ... sheer bliss ... just beautiful ... superbly crafted ... truly satisfying ... Truly soul-warming
Point taken  ;)
… 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 Mirror Image

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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #226 on: December 28, 2020, 09:48:21 AM »
Point taken  ;)

 :P Yeah, he could’ve easily narrowed down his post to a few words and left it at that. :)
"Humility is society's greatest misconception."

Offline Christo

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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #227 on: December 28, 2020, 10:15:53 AM »
:P Yeah, he could’ve easily narrowed down his post to a few words and left it at that. :)
Oh, no! I love his enthusiasm & feel inspired by posts like this.  :)
… 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 Mirror Image

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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #228 on: December 28, 2020, 10:27:47 AM »
Oh, no! I love his enthusiasm & feel inspired by posts like this.  :)

Ah, it felt like your post was being sarcastic. It’s difficult to read into what many people write over the internet sometimes.
"Humility is society's greatest misconception."

Offline Christo

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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #229 on: December 28, 2020, 10:43:54 AM »
Ah, it felt like your post was being sarcastic. It’s difficult to read into what many people write over the internet sometimes.
I hate sarcasm, can hardly tolerate irony either. Good music deserves better.  :)
… 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 Mirror Image

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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #230 on: December 28, 2020, 12:08:58 PM »
I hate sarcasm, can hardly tolerate irony either. Good music deserves better.  :)

Well, I do like sarcasm (especially if used to comedic effect), but not when music is concerned.
"Humility is society's greatest misconception."

Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #231 on: December 28, 2020, 02:57:51 PM »
The Morceau for harp and orchestra is also a fine piece. A more debugged, subtle, non-sugary Saint-Saëns. In fact, all of his Morceau-concertante-like works are pretty good: the one for horn, the one for violin, and even works that don't bear this name also suit here.
Give us something else; give us something new; for Heaven's sake give us something bad, so long as we feel we are alive and active and not just passive admirers of tradition!

Carl Nielsen

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #232 on: October 22, 2021, 02:59:00 AM »
This month's free download from Naxos is a treat for Saint-Saens fans.  Three interesting and not obvious discs;

Marlia Klegel's 2 Cello Concerti plus some nice fillers

a recital of Saint-Saens organ music - all interesting and little known

The Piano Quintet and Piano Quartet - I plumped for this disc as I don't know the repertoire at all so I'm looking forward to hearing it.

I've said it before - its well-worth signing up for the free Naxos monthly newsletter even if its onlyy for the downloads.  usually something interesting and the FLAC download option appeals to me as well

Online Papy Oli

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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #233 on: October 22, 2021, 05:40:32 AM »
Thank you for the heads-up, RS.

I have downloaded the cello concertos as I do not have them in my Saint-Saens collection.
Olivier

Offline kyjo

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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #234 on: October 26, 2021, 09:58:19 AM »
I very much enjoyed Hurwitz’s review of the new Warner Saint-Saëns edition:

https://youtu.be/tFEbUuvLE6I

Despite the fact that I don’t always agree with him and some of his videos are kinda annoying, videos like these are why I’m pretty firmly in the pro-Hurwitz camp. He hits the nail on the head about how underrated Saint-Saëns is, mainly because he wasn’t typically a “heavy/profound” composer like his Germanic contemporaries and because he became wrongly known as a “fusty conservative” because he lived until 1921.
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #235 on: October 26, 2021, 11:59:36 AM »
I very much enjoyed Hurwitz’s review of the new Warner Saint-Saëns edition:

https://youtu.be/tFEbUuvLE6I

Despite the fact that I don’t always agree with him and some of his videos are kinda annoying, videos like these are why I’m pretty firmly in the pro-Hurwitz camp. He hits the nail on the head about how underrated Saint-Saëns is, mainly because he wasn’t typically a “heavy/profound” composer like his Germanic contemporaries and because he became wrongly known as a “fusty conservative” because he lived until 1921.

My problem with his videos is just a general lack of creativity and they're boring to watch. You've seen one, you've seen them all. They're just him sitting in front of a camera complaining about the British musical establishment's bias towards their homegrown talent or simply running his mouth about topics that anyone who has any knowledge about could talk about. I'm more interested in a work's history than the 20 versions of the work he owns that he feels are "the best".
"Humility is society's greatest misconception."

Offline kyjo

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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #236 on: October 27, 2021, 09:16:38 AM »
My problem with his videos is just a general lack of creativity and they're boring to watch. You've seen one, you've seen them all. They're just him sitting in front of a camera complaining about the British musical establishment's bias towards their homegrown talent or simply running his mouth about topics that anyone who has any knowledge about could talk about. I'm more interested in a work's history than the 20 versions of the work he owns that he feels are "the best".

I agree with you in that the videos which discuss his ideal recordings are less interesting and often rather biased. But the videos where he discusses certain repertoire in depth can be quite interesting and even illuminating. His videos on Dvorak and Haydn, particularly, can contain some really interesting insights about the music itself rather than just recordings of it. IMO, there’s something refreshing about hearing someone actually talk about music rather than just reading a review- it feels much more personal.
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Offline Jo498

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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #237 on: October 27, 2021, 11:20:35 AM »
I think I have almost all the Saint-Saens I want. That is all of the concertos, incl. I think most of the shorter concertante pieces, the numbered symphonies, most of the symphonic poems, Samson & Dalila, some choral music (le deluge etc.), most of the chamber music. It's only about 20-25 discs despite some doubling in the concertos, so I must be missing still a fair bit but I don't think I need much more.
I am missing piano music but I was just not sufficiently interested to get that voxBox with all? of it. I wonder if there are good 1-2 disc anthologies of St-S piano music.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #238 on: October 27, 2021, 11:30:03 AM »
My problem with his videos is just a general lack of creativity and they're boring to watch. You've seen one, you've seen them all. They're just him sitting in front of a camera complaining about the British musical establishment's bias towards their homegrown talent or simply running his mouth about topics that anyone who has any knowledge about could talk about. I'm more interested in a work's history than the 20 versions of the work he owns that he feels are "the best".

+1!

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
« Reply #239 on: October 27, 2021, 11:35:12 AM »
I agree with you in that the videos which discuss his ideal recordings are less interesting and often rather biased. But the videos where he discusses certain repertoire in depth can be quite interesting and even illuminating. His videos on Dvorak and Haydn, particularly, can contain some really interesting insights about the music itself rather than just recordings of it. IMO, there’s something refreshing about hearing someone actually talk about music rather than just reading a review- it feels much more personal.

I just find the whole format of him sitting in front of a camera to be boring. His insights aren't any more special than members of this very forum --- Luke comes to mind here. He could astound one with what he knew about a given composer. Also, the fact that Luke is a composer himself gave him a special insight.

Edit: To be even more blunt, I prefer to read what you think about music than what he thinks.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2021, 11:51:05 AM by Mirror Image »
"Humility is society's greatest misconception."