GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: BachQ on April 12, 2007, 04:11:55 AM

Title: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: BachQ on April 12, 2007, 04:11:55 AM
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”)

(http://clanfaw.free.fr/saint_saens_ico_a.jpg)

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)
Title: Re: The Saint-Saëns Sanctuary
Post by: BachQ on April 12, 2007, 04:14:12 AM
From Hector

***  Saint-Saëns, apparently, performed all of the Beethoven piano sonatas in one session and from memory and pre-teen.

He was the first French composer to write a piano concerto.

He was advised not to publish 'Carnival of the Animals' because it would destroy his reputation as a serious composer!

I think that he has greater depth than he is usually given credit for because there is a general lightness of touch and easy melodic facility. I think that he was an optimist and few of his works end on a tragic note. Even 'Samson and Delilah' has a spritely ending, rightly so, as Samson gains his revenge!

All but a couple of his operas were failures.

Personally, I find a lot to like in his music. He who is not swayed by the slow movement of the 1st 'cello concerto must have a heart of stone!

I think that he probably queered his status by living too long. His music was considered dated and conservative by the time of his death and he had become very conservative in his views. At the outset of his composing career he was seen as avant-garde (yes, I know, does the same fate await Boulez, I wonder?).

Recommendations are easy: the concertante works, tone poems, symphonies, etc
Title: Re: The Saint-Saëns Sanctuary
Post by: BachQ on April 12, 2007, 04:15:54 AM
From npwilkinson

Translated from a French web site:

Berlioz would say of him : “He is a staggering master pianist… and one of the greatest musicians of our time.” Liszt, Wagner, Berlioz and Bizet were among his admirers. He would have Fauré, Messager and Gigout as pupils, receive many distinctions and be elected to the Academy. He was prodigiously knowledgeable: “Saint-Saëns is the man who knows best the music of the whole world,” wrote Debussy, who was nevertheless not fond of the composer.

Apparently the first Paris performance of the Carnaval was put on for Liszt at Pauline Viardot's home.

Rummaging on the web, I also learned that Madame Saint Saëns died in 1950 (!). And, continuing to rummage...

[Translated from French: read it with a Hercules Poirot accent] 'Is writing, a model of elegance and limpidity, 'is impeccable technique beneath the apparent facility and 'is extreme simplicity of means will always be appreciated by those who refuse to swoon before chaotic, uncontrolled lyricism or to excuse the worst compositional errors in the name of the sacred rights of passion.

[Translated from Italian:] Proust respected the musician’s technical prowess but when Stravinsky declared that Saint Saëns’ Symphony in C Major was a masterpiece superior to all of César Franck he was bemused.

[Translated from American:] In some ways he was a solitary, even secretive individual, prone to "disappearing" for weeks. At the same time, he was a remarkable host who entertained lavishly at his Paris home, where his performances in drag (particularly his impersonation of Marguerite, the female soprano lead in Charles Gounod's opera Faust) were well-known among his circle.

Camille Saint-Saens was not without his critics. "If he'd been making shell-cases during the war," Maurice Ravel once remarked, "it might have been better for music."
Title: Re: The Saint-Saëns Sanctuary
Post by: karlhenning on April 12, 2007, 04:38:24 AM
[Translated from American:]

Nom d'un nom d'un nom!  :D
Title: Re: The Saint-Saëns Sanctuary
Post by: karlhenning on April 12, 2007, 04:41:01 AM
Camille Saint-Saens was not without his critics. "If he'd been making shell-cases during the war," Maurice Ravel once remarked, "it might have been better for music."

This seems it might take a customary grain of salt.  It is a historical commonplace that the older compositional generation has difficulty taking to the directions some younger composers want to go in;  and the younger composers, who are already working somewhat in the dark as they find their own way, their own voice, necessarily find it a nuisance at best when the older composers are eager to draw a heavy curtain across their windows . . . .
Title: Re: The Saint-Saëns Sanctuary
Post by: lukeottevanger on April 12, 2007, 04:45:35 AM
Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) was a remarkable composer.  Among his credits:

1. Saint-Saens has been described as the “French Mendelssohn”

This is a good thing, right? After all, I once knew the Georgian Mendelssohn....
Title: Re: The Saint-Saëns Sanctuary
Post by: carlos on April 12, 2007, 05:57:23 AM
This is a good thing, right? After all, I once knew the Georgian Mendelssohn....

In the Third Reich they said "that Jew Mendelssohn"
Title: Re: The Saint-Saëns Sanctuary
Post by: Hector on April 12, 2007, 06:06:04 AM
Wasn't everybody who wrote music after Mendelssohn, but not before, considered Mendelssohnian?

S-S wrote Suite Algerienne because he often visited the country and not for his health, if you get my drift.

The orchestral suite was popular in France at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries because, it has been suggested, the French were scared of the symphony!

Think of them: Milhaud, Ravel, Debussy, Massenet...al wrote orchestral suites!
Title: Re: The Saint-Saëns Sanctuary
Post by: BachQ on April 12, 2007, 06:10:43 AM
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.

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?
Title: Re: The Saint-Saëns Sanctuary
Post by: karlhenning on April 12, 2007, 06:12:25 AM
Wasn't everybody who wrote music after Mendelssohn, but not before, considered Mendelssohnian?

That was, until everyone became Elgarian  ;D
Title: Re: The Saint-Saëns Sanctuary
Post by: carlos on April 12, 2007, 06:43:57 AM
If I made you hear a certain cello sonata in B minor,
probably you'll say that you didn´t know that Mendelssohn
sonata. And the reason why is because it was written by
Borodin.
Title: Re: The Saint-Saëns Sanctuary
Post by: quintett op.57 on April 12, 2007, 06:45:53 AM
I don't know exactly why, I don't need to listen to St-Saëns very often.

This Introduction & Rondo capriccioso is a great work.

Don't know how to explain why I don't listen to it more often, I feel like it's almost too perfect.  :-\

One of the greatest concerto composer ever, anyway.
I'm enjoying his first cello concerto, inspired by Beethoven's VC
Title: Re: The Saint-Saëns Sanctuary
Post by: karlhenning on April 12, 2007, 06:49:55 AM
Live performance here by the BSO sold me on the Organ Symphony;  and now I regularly go back to the Paray/Detroit reissue on Mercury Living Presence.
Title: Re: The Saint-Saëns Sanctuary
Post by: karlhenning on April 12, 2007, 06:50:56 AM
Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) was a remarkable composer.

BTW, mon vieux, thank you for getting the diacritical mark there in the inaugural post!  :D
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: BachQ on April 23, 2007, 11:09:04 AM
I'm itching to get this new hybrid superaudio CD (hybrid SACD); it's back-ordered @ Archiv but available @ Amazon.com.

(http://www.arkivmusic.com/graphics/covers/full/97/972467.jpg)

In addition to the Organ Symphony, it includes:

Concerto for Organ, Strings and Timpani in G minor by Francis Poulenc
 
Performer:  Olivier Latry (Organ)
Conductor:  Christoph Eschenbach
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
Date of Recording: 05/2006
Venue:  Verizon Hall, Kimmel Ctr., Philadelphia

Toccata festiva for Organ and Orchestra, Op. 36 by Samuel Barber
 
Performer:  Olivier Latry (Organ)
Conductor:  Christoph Eschenbach
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
Date of Recording: 05/2006
Venue:  Verizon Hall, Kimmel Ctr., Philadelphia

(http://g-ec2.images-amazon.com/images/I/51118PwjC2L._SS500_.jpg)


 

 
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: jwinter on April 23, 2007, 11:25:47 AM
I came at the composer through Charles Munch's outstanding recording of the Organ Symphony, and then branched out into the piano concerti.  What marvelous works these are!  I have to confess that my initial expectations weren't too high, but these are indeed excellent works, as Michel pointed out long ago.

I recently picked up this set (http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=118742) to fill in some of the blanks:

(http://www.arkivmusic.com/graphics/covers/full/94/947246.jpg)

Very much glad I did!
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: oyasumi on April 23, 2007, 03:26:12 PM
So did he like little boys or not? Serious question.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Gurn Blanston on April 23, 2007, 03:36:35 PM
So did he like little boys or not? Serious question.

It lacks relevance to his music.

8)
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: oyasumi on April 23, 2007, 03:55:43 PM
Someone should revoke the sunglasses smiley from your post. Nothing cool about a useless reply.

"This board is for discussing the life and works of particular composers."

My question pertains to his life. I don't want to start a seperate pedo topic just for this, but the veracity of it has been bothering me.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Gurn Blanston on April 23, 2007, 04:02:17 PM
Someone should revoke the sunglasses smiley from your post. Nothing cool about a useless reply.

"This board is for discussing the life and works of particular composers."

My question pertains to his life. I don't want to start a seperate pedo topic just for this, but the veracity of it has been bothering me.

I that case, yes, he did. Now we can branch right out and explore the seamy side. ::)

8)
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: BachQ on April 23, 2007, 04:08:31 PM
So did he like little boys or not? Serious question.

Well, he was married for several years, and he and his wife had two children.  But rumors (unsubstantiated) that he was gay / pedophilic have occasionally surfaced.

Without an admission or conviction, such an allegation would be difficult to prove . . . . . .
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: BachQ on April 23, 2007, 04:09:32 PM
I that case, yes, he did.

"Yes, he did" what?
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Gurn Blanston on April 23, 2007, 04:10:44 PM
"Yes, he did" what?

Travel in Africa and commune with the natives.

8)
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: BachQ on April 23, 2007, 04:13:08 PM
Travel in Africa and commune with the natives.

8)

Yeah, I've heard that Saint-Saens had a thing for Algerian men . . . . . .  ::)  ("When in Algeria . . . . ."  ::))


But on the topic of Saint-Saens MUSIC, you can see Nelson Freire perform the Second Piano Concerto on YOUTUBE:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yiqzv7hD0J4 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yiqzv7hD0J4)

(video is in 4 parts)
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Gurn Blanston on April 23, 2007, 04:28:57 PM
Yeah, I've heard that Saint-Saens had a thing for Algerian men . . . . . .  ::)  ("When in Algeria . . . . ."  ::))


But on the topic of Saint-Saens MUSIC, you can see Nelson Freire perform the Second Piano Concerto on YOUTUBE:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yiqzv7hD0J4 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yiqzv7hD0J4)

(video is in 4 parts)

Quite agree. Not my choice either.

My choice IS his chamber music. In addition to the piano trios you mentioned, he also wrote a couple of very nice string quartets, it took me a long time to find recordings of them but worth the effort. I ended up with the Margand Quartet on Cybelia. The first one, Op 112, is dedicated to Ysaye, the second, Op 153 to Jacques Durand. They are really lovely, minor key works that are worth searching out (for all I know, Naxos may have put them out since I quit hunting them 2 years ago.)

Also his 2 violin sonatas. The first one, in d, is rather famous for its whirlwind, virtuosic finale. The second one is a much more traditional, lovely work. As Camille himself said, the second is far superior musically, but the public will no doubt prefer the first. Both of them are excellent.

8)
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: BachQ on April 23, 2007, 04:35:28 PM
Also his 2 violin sonatas. The first one, in d, is rather famous for its whirlwind, virtuosic finale. The second one is a much more traditional, lovely work. As Camille himself said, the second is far superior musically, but the public will no doubt prefer the first. Both of them are excellent.

Something . . . . . . . something ineffable . . . . . . draws me to the 1st violin sonata . . . . . .
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: hautbois on April 24, 2007, 08:48:26 AM
I think his cello sonatas are fascinating, and sorry for being an oboist, BUT EVERYONE MUST TRY HIS OBOE SONATA!!!! It is just so naively beautiful, everytime i play it.

Howard
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Harry on April 24, 2007, 08:54:35 AM
And may I add for the completeness the wonderful set of Symphonies he wrote.
To this day still high on my list.
Tis Martinon on EMI, good recordings and fine interpretations.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: BachQ on April 24, 2007, 10:54:12 AM
I think his cello sonatas are fascinating, and sorry for being an oboist, BUT EVERYONE MUST TRY HIS OBOE SONATA!!!! It is just so naively beautiful, everytime i play it.

Howard

I've never heard the OBOE SONATA . . . . . . Thanks for the tip! . . . . . .  8)
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: BachQ on July 07, 2007, 10:38:56 AM
 Stephen Hough performing Saint-Saens Piano Concerto no. 4  (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOvAJe_blWw)
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: The new erato on July 07, 2007, 10:58:19 AM
Isn't the 2nd violon sonate the model for the sonata discused at length in Proust's In search of Time Lost (or whatever it's called in English)
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: 71 dB on July 07, 2007, 11:07:48 AM
I like Saint-Saëns very much but I have only 5 CDs of his music. He is one of those composers whose works are inconsistently recorded.

Saint-Saëns and Fauré are my favorite French composers of romantic era.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Lethevich on July 07, 2007, 12:48:26 PM
Well, he was married for several years, and he and his wife had two children.  But rumors (unsubstantiated) that he was gay / pedophilic have occasionally surfaced.

Without an admission or conviction, such an allegation would be difficult to prove . . . . . .

"unsubstantiated" LOL :D What about the well-known pederast quote directly from his mouth? This has been mentioned in biographies for aeons...
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: BachQ on July 07, 2007, 04:05:45 PM
"unsubstantiated" LOL :D What about the well-known pederast quote directly from his mouth?

Well, if it came "directly from his mouth," then that would be an "admission" by Saint-Saens ....... Which would, generally, put an end to the speculation (unless it were stated in jest, under intoxication, under duress, etc.).


Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: BachQ on July 07, 2007, 04:07:41 PM
This has been mentioned in biographies for aeons...

I wasn't aware that folks have been writing Saint-Saëns biographies for aeons ........  ::)
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Lethevich on July 07, 2007, 05:04:26 PM
I wasn't aware that folks have been writing Saint-Saëns biographies for aeons ........  ::)

Something had to have created the big bang, Saint-Saëns is as good a guess as any...
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: BachQ on July 08, 2007, 09:31:18 AM
Something had to have created the big bang, Saint-Saëns is as good a guess as any...

Actually, I thought it was established that Wagner created the big bang ..........
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: JoshLilly on July 11, 2007, 06:36:54 AM
Saint-Saëns is a composer I used to hate, and now like quite a lot! But I'm checking over some of these "facts" that start this thread off, and came across:

"He was the first French composer to write a piano concerto."

This is just a false statement, and I'm not sure why anyone would even say such a thing. First, look when he lived, and it's probably a safe assumption - even without knowing - that some French composer would have composed a piano concerto before he did. And indeed, this ends up being true. I don't know if I'm the only person here familiar with Boïeldieu's Piano Concerto, but it certainly exists, making this claim about Saint-Saëns incorrect. But why even say such things without having found out for sure, when the "odds" almost overwhelmingly indicate that it cannot be true in the first place? Mainly because of Saint-Saëns' later years, and piano concerti (specifically) were being written since at least the 1770s. A weird side note: Saint-Saëns was born exactly a year and a day after Boïeldieu died.

And he wrote five symphonies, at least, right? Don't know if that's already been pointed out or not.


I think I really started to love his music by way of the Piano Concerto #5, which I heard on the radio a long time ago. It just stuck with me for years, even though I found the late Romantic sound harsh and discomforting at the time. I didn't come back to it for years, but never quite forgot it. When I listened again, I'd managed to ease into the mid to late 19th century slowly up the timeline of composers, gradually acclimating to the newer style, and loved the work. I also loved the finale of the Piano Concerto #1, it's so much fun. Especially this one part where the first theme, which switches between the piano and orchestra, goes along several times... until at one point, the piano "forgets" to do it right and the orchestra hesitates then quickly jumps in and plays that part. Makes me laugh out loud sometimes. Maybe I'm not explaining it well, but maybe somebody could more properly identify what I'm talking about.

Anybody mention that Trumpet Septet thing? Really neat and fun, at least to me.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: carlos on July 11, 2007, 06:46:49 AM
He was without doubt, the first to write music
for a film (1908).
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: JoshLilly on July 11, 2007, 06:49:51 AM
That is very possible, but every source I've ever seen that mentions this is very careful to point out there there is doubt.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: karlhenning on July 11, 2007, 06:55:12 AM
Saint-Saëns is a composer I used to hate, and now like quite a lot!

Testify, brother!
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Que on July 11, 2007, 08:46:16 AM
IMO Saint-Saëns' strenths are to be found in his chamber music: highly original and inventive, with a very keen eye for unusual combinations of instruments and blending their sounds. He was a real French composer in that last respect, though his music is structurely more insprired by the Austro-German repertoire. A very interesting combination.

Some favourites.

(http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/2272814.jpg) (http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/2173133.jpg) (http://www.jpc.de/image/w300/front/0/9936629)

Q
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: m_gigena on July 11, 2007, 09:44:43 AM
I've never heard the OBOE SONATA . . . . . . Thanks for the tip! . . . . . .  8)

While you order that... some guy called A.Rubtsov recorded Introduction & Rondo-Capriccioso on oboe.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: m_gigena on July 11, 2007, 09:49:48 AM
His Etudes are fantastic; all of them: sixths, thirds, rythm difficulties, sing-through chords, left hand alone, staccato. They are not only technically constructive, but also provide great fun for pianists-to-be.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: hautbois on July 18, 2007, 07:39:56 AM
While you order that... some guy called A.Rubtsov recorded Introduction & Rondo-Capriccioso on oboe.

I have never heard of that piece, but the oboist is well known for being the young oboist whom at his early 20s is already principal in the Russian National Orchestra. Which label did that recording come from?
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: m_gigena on July 18, 2007, 10:01:07 AM
I have never heard of that piece, but the oboist is well known for being the young oboist whom at his early 20s is already principal in the Russian National Orchestra. Which label did that recording come from?


An impressed friend sent me the file in mp3 format, through Msn Messenger, a while ago. I don't know where it came from.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Greta on September 02, 2007, 06:59:55 PM
This thread needs reviving.

3rd Violin Concerto is to die for. The perfectly gorgeous Allegro, the fragile beauty of the harmonic arpeggios colored by the clarinet at the end of the Andantino, the swoonworthy passion of the last movement, and the final joyous brass contrasted with the lyrical virtuosic violin lines. Oh my. Wow. Shame on me for not exploring Saint-Saëns more until now...

Who do you like in the violin concertos? I was listening to Perlman, very nice.

Edit: Wanted to add, the portrait at the beginning of this thread is so beautiful and lifelike, one of nicest composer portraits I have seen...who painted it?
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Mark on September 02, 2007, 08:17:21 PM
3rd Violin Concerto is to die for.

Now try his Second. ;)
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Harry on September 02, 2007, 09:37:43 PM

3rd Violin Concerto is to die for.


Please don't! ::)
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: m_gigena on September 03, 2007, 01:59:28 AM
Who do you like in the violin concertos? I was listening to Perlman, very nice.


As I said before, I don't think you will find one better than Perlman/Barenboim for the third.
And I stick to Ricci for the second concerto.


Now try his Second. ;)

Interesting, but not better than the third.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Mark on September 03, 2007, 02:43:13 AM
Interesting, but not better than the third.

I had in mind the slow movement specifically.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: karlhenning on September 03, 2007, 06:37:23 AM
This thread needs reviving.

3rd Violin Concerto is to die for. The perfectly gorgeous Allegro, the fragile beauty of the harmonic arpeggios colored by the clarinet at the end of the Andantino, the swoonworthy passion of the last movement, and the final joyous brass contrasted with the lyrical virtuosic violin lines. Oh my. Wow. Shame on me for not exploring Saint-Saëns more until now...

Who do you like in the violin concertos? I was listening to Perlman, very nice.

Edit: Wanted to add, the portrait at the beginning of this thread is so beautiful and lifelike, one of nicest composer portraits I have seen...who painted it?

Go, Greta, go! :-)

I like any violinist in the Saint-Saëns concerti as they are playing them (I just haven't heard any to dislike in these).

Interesting, but not better than the third.

Mark's comment does not imply any relative superiority, of course.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: m_gigena on September 03, 2007, 08:33:27 AM
Mark's comment does not imply any relative superiority, of course.

It's easy to read mine does.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: JoshLilly on September 04, 2007, 02:10:36 PM
Testify, brother!


Wish I could say much more than I did before! Did I mention Samson et Dalila?  When I first started listening to this opera, with its almost monotonous opening minutes, I moved to skip ahead, but I couldn't. Now, I love how the opera starts, I find it oddly compelling, in the same way that I find myself unbreakably fascinated by the first movement of Brahms Op.25 Piano Quartet. The pieces are not at all similar for a myriad of reasons, but my emotional response is very similar: "I can't turn this off!" These are probably the only two pieces in all of music that hold such a completely mysterious hold on me, which is really bizarre considering I'm not so heavy into late 19th century music in general.

Sorry, my technical knowledge of music is extremely limited, so I'm stuck with feelings and impressions. Don't have anything meaningful to contribute.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: BachQ on October 03, 2007, 02:30:32 PM
A discussion of the master's third violin concerto can be found by clicking here .......  (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,3669.msg88738.html#msg88738)
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: karlhenning on December 31, 2007, 02:18:46 PM
TTT, mes amis!
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: ChamberNut on March 23, 2009, 03:17:27 PM
Ok, after having hearing a live performance of Saint-Saens' Piano Concerto No. 2, I would love to have some recommendations!  Of the #2, or of all 5 PCs for that matter!   :)  Thank you kindly.  0:)

I've seen a few recommendations for Stephen Hough. 
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Wanderer on March 23, 2009, 10:41:38 PM
My first recommendation would be Pascal Rogé (on a midpriced Decca twofer) but Hough is also a worthy choice.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: karlhenning on March 24, 2009, 04:02:45 AM
Good question, Ray!  The set I've got is lovely, but would be an eccentric recommendation (not sure it's still available) . . . a mono reissue, performed by Jeanne-Marie Darré.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: karlhenning on March 24, 2009, 04:16:26 AM
Hah! I had clean forgot that I have this EMI two-fer (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,9.msg290227.html#msg290227), as well . . . for when I need stereo in my life  8)
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: ChamberNut on March 24, 2009, 05:02:48 AM
Excellent, thank you Wanderer and Karl!  0:)
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: snyprrr on October 03, 2009, 10:15:57 AM
I've been listening SSs SQs courtesy of the Miami SQ on Conifer. I'd been waiting a while to get to know these two (I'd actually been interested in this issue when it first came out in 1992. Saint-Saens, with the Faure?,...who couldn't go for that combo?!!), and I had dipped into them via the SilverTrustEditions, but now I sat back, and...


Whaaa???... well, honestly, these are some fairly anonymous SQs. I'm almost thinking Spohr here, updated slightly. There's nothing offensive, and unlike Franck, or Deb/Rav, or any other French SQ from the 20th century (@), these two are more in the old fashioned "classical music" mold of just straight up SQs.

My first reaction was that I'd like to hear another version. Though the Miami come fairly well recommended, I just sensed that there could be more sumptousness in these pieces. The notes say that Faure commented that SS was "not successful" in his SQ endeavor, and, I can't vouch for what he was talking about, but, yes, ultimately these two SQs might just leave a slight bit to be desired. On the other hand, in a spectacularly A+ rendition, these two might take on a totally different life. They certainly seem to be able to withstand a more vigourously Romantic approach, with silkier smoother sound, than they get here. Perhaps had the Cleveland Quartet...

I remember Gurn was thinking that these two might be "right up my alley." Mmmm, perhaps, but based now on full listenings, they have gone quite quickly into the wallpaper part of the collection. ::) :P ::) :-[ :-X :-\

As far as I know, they are the available versions:

Quatour Viotti/Erato

Miami Quartet/Conifer

Medici/Koch

Equinox SQ/??? (this one has gotten some good reviews)

and, I think that that's it. Does anyone have any compares?



I'll be honest. I'm listening to No.2 (1919) right now, and I'm having no problems with it. It's just nice, unobtrusive classical style SQ playing, in a very smooth, vanilla coating,... a touch on the sweet side, but not too much,... nothing really memorable, but very easy on the ears. Still, the Spohr comparison seems to stick for me.

The first SQ (1899) might be a bit more of its time (though still very old fashioned), but No.2 definitely is the laaast word on the 19th century, so out of place does it seem in 1919. Maybe Saint-Saens and Glazunov, then, are the last of the last?



I have enjoyed SS's late wind sonatas (and I'm familiar with the war horses), but I feel as though my interest in this composer has seen its last day. Here's to the old poofter, ha! Poor guy...ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzz....zzzz....zzzz...
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: snyprrr on October 07, 2009, 10:12:21 AM
I've been listening SSs SQs courtesy of the Miami SQ on Conifer. I'd been waiting a while to get to know these two (I'd actually been interested in this issue when it first came out in 1992. Saint-Saens, with the Faure?,...who couldn't go for that combo?!!), and I had dipped into them via the SilverTrustEditions, but now I sat back, and...


Whaaa???... well, honestly, these are some fairly anonymous SQs. I'm almost thinking Spohr here, updated slightly. There's nothing offensive, and unlike Franck, or Deb/Rav, or any other French SQ from the 20th century (@), these two are more in the old fashioned "classical music" mold of just straight up SQs.

My first reaction was that I'd like to hear another version. Though the Miami come fairly well recommended, I just sensed that there could be more sumptousness in these pieces. The notes say that Faure commented that SS was "not successful" in his SQ endeavor, and, I can't vouch for what he was talking about, but, yes, ultimately these two SQs might just leave a slight bit to be desired. On the other hand, in a spectacularly A+ rendition, these two might take on a totally different life. They certainly seem to be able to withstand a more vigourously Romantic approach, with silkier smoother sound, than they get here. Perhaps had the Cleveland Quartet...

I remember Gurn was thinking that these two might be "right up my alley." Mmmm, perhaps, but based now on full listenings, they have gone quite quickly into the wallpaper part of the collection. ::) :P ::) :-[ :-X :-\

As far as I know, they are the available versions:

Quatour Viotti/Erato

Miami Quartet/Conifer

Medici/Koch

Equinox SQ/??? (this one has gotten some good reviews)

and, I think that that's it. Does anyone have any compares?



I'll be honest. I'm listening to No.2 (1919) right now, and I'm having no problems with it. It's just nice, unobtrusive classical style SQ playing, in a very smooth, vanilla coating,... a touch on the sweet side, but not too much,... nothing really memorable, but very easy on the ears. Still, the Spohr comparison seems to stick for me.

The first SQ (1899) might be a bit more of its time (though still very old fashioned), but No.2 definitely is the laaast word on the 19th century, so out of place does it seem in 1919. Maybe Saint-Saens and Glazunov, then, are the last of the last?



I have enjoyed SS's late wind sonatas (and I'm familiar with the war horses), but I feel as though my interest in this composer has seen its last day. Here's to the old poofter, ha! Poor guy...ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzz....zzzz....zzzz...

I still don't know how much I'm enjoying these SQs. No one has any opinion?
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: The new erato on October 07, 2009, 11:16:41 AM
I still don't know how much I'm enjoying these SQs.
Neither do we. But they haven't grabbed me either to the same degree as some of his other chamber works. There's a very fine Hyperion 2-CD with his Piano Quartet and Quintet and various other works, including the wind sonatas, which I find quite a bit more interesting.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: ChamberNut on October 07, 2009, 11:20:03 AM
I still don't know how much I'm enjoying these SQs. No one has any opinion?

Revised stats for Snyprrr:

The Great and Well Loved Romantic Era String Quartets

Like - 9
Dislike - 974

0.9241% likes  ;D

Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: DavidW on October 07, 2009, 11:53:44 AM
Revised stats for Snyprrr:

The Great and Well Loved Romantic Era String Quartets

Like - 9
Dislike - 974

0.9241% likes  ;D



We should make gmg cards like baseball cards! ;D
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: ChamberNut on October 07, 2009, 11:57:51 AM
We should make gmg cards like baseball cards! ;D

In this case, Snyprrr would be batting 9th spot.  :D
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: snyprrr on October 09, 2009, 08:42:13 AM
ok, DavidW and Chambernut:

How do YOooU rate Saint-Saens SQs?

Do the themes bounce through your head after only the first listen? Do their rhythmic elan whisk you off your feet? Do they make good wallpaper?

Don't blame me just because music died for 75 years! :P
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: ChamberNut on October 09, 2009, 08:47:00 AM
ok, DavidW and Chambernut:

How do YOooU rate Saint-Saens SQs?

Do the themes bounce through your head after only the first listen? Do their rhythmic elan whisk you off your feet? Do they make good wallpaper?

Don't blame me just because music died for 75 years! :P

Actually Snyprrr, I've never heard Double S's string quartets yet.  :-[  It's just fun to bug you.

Runs away
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Lethevich on October 09, 2009, 10:56:25 AM
To parrot an opinion, I thought the SQs to be very nice, but less interesting than SS at his best (although I don't rate his chamber music quite as highly as some...).
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: karlhenning on October 10, 2009, 07:11:25 AM
If you own the opinion, Sara, it isn't parroting  0:)
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: snyprrr on December 04, 2009, 09:53:59 AM
I've been listening SSs SQs courtesy of the Miami SQ on Conifer. I'd been waiting a while to get to know these two (I'd actually been interested in this issue when it first came out in 1992. Saint-Saens, with the Faure?,...who couldn't go for that combo?!!), and I had dipped into them via the SilverTrustEditions, but now I sat back, and...


Whaaa???... well, honestly, these are some fairly anonymous SQs. I'm almost thinking Spohr here, updated slightly. There's nothing offensive, and unlike Franck, or Deb/Rav, or any other French SQ from the 20th century (@), these two are more in the old fashioned "classical music" mold of just straight up SQs.

My first reaction was that I'd like to hear another version. Though the Miami come fairly well recommended, I just sensed that there could be more sumptousness in these pieces. The notes say that Faure commented that SS was "not successful" in his SQ endeavor, and, I can't vouch for what he was talking about, but, yes, ultimately these two SQs might just leave a slight bit to be desired. On the other hand, in a spectacularly A+ rendition, these two might take on a totally different life. They certainly seem to be able to withstand a more vigourously Romantic approach, with silkier smoother sound, than they get here. Perhaps had the Cleveland Quartet...

I remember Gurn was thinking that these two might be "right up my alley." Mmmm, perhaps, but based now on full listenings, they have gone quite quickly into the wallpaper part of the collection. ::) :P ::) :-[ :-X :-\

As far as I know, they are the available versions:

Quatour Viotti/Erato

Miami Quartet/Conifer

Medici/Koch

Equinox SQ/??? (this one has gotten some good reviews)

and, I think that that's it. Does anyone have any compares?



I'll be honest. I'm listening to No.2 (1919) right now, and I'm having no problems with it. It's just nice, unobtrusive classical style SQ playing, in a very smooth, vanilla coating,... a touch on the sweet side, but not too much,... nothing really memorable, but very easy on the ears. Still, the Spohr comparison seems to stick for me.

The first SQ (1899) might be a bit more of its time (though still very old fashioned), but No.2 definitely is the laaast word on the 19th century, so out of place does it seem in 1919. Maybe Saint-Saens and Glazunov, then, are the last of the last?



I have enjoyed SS's late wind sonatas (and I'm familiar with the war horses), but I feel as though my interest in this composer has seen its last day. Here's to the old poofter, ha! Poor guy...ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzz....zzzz....zzzz...


Well, of course, I had to try again, and so, the Medici String Quartet presented themselves on Ebay. Theirs is one of the two older recordings (along with the Viotti/Erato), and some have spoken of their enjoyment of this version (as compared with the Equinox in a review).

The first thing I noticed was that the Miami disc, with the Faure, reaches into the late 70min mark, but the Medici, with only the two S-S SQs, clocks in at 65mins.!!! WHAAAT is going on here?

I know we've had our "timings" controversies in the Haydn thread (where repeats make the dif many times), but what is going on here? I don't have both discs in front of me, but in No.2, the Miami come up with "7s" in each of the three mvmts., whereas the Medici come up with 9/12/9!!! Every mvmt. is at least two mins. longer in the Medici version, and yet when I compare, there is precious little to tell.

I thought the Miami were going to suck by compare, but they have the edge in the rhythmic bounce and crystal clear recording. The Medici's recording is a bit wooly, but their more "romantic" approach yields great dividends in terms of sheer sonic voluptousness (maybe not that strong a word for S-S!). The Miami surely play, and play well, but the Medici's obvious total dedication to these pieces shows. They make these two pieces sound like absolute masterpieces. My friend commented, as we were going back and forth, that the Medicis sounded like other music, and I had to agree.



As for my previous dismissal of these pieces, well, the Medicis definitely made a believer out of me. The almost ten page essay on S-S's apparent ease of composition (as opposed to the "romantic" turmoil of "greater" composers) really makes the case for these two SQs as being quite something special.

Especially, I noted the finale of No.2, how S-S makes the most convincing case for aural bouquets of flowers: the music literally sounds like the shape of flowers. It's all very joyous and carefree. Also, the slow mvmt. of the e-minor is actually perfectly beautiful. Apparently, there was a LOT I missed with the Miami!



These two pieces are so free of your usually, romantic, composer angst, that it IS easy to dismiss them, but when you have such obsessively dedicated folks as the Medici to try to convince you, you really start to hear things that others might miss (not that the Miami MISS anything, they just aren't as heartbroken over these pieces as the Medici). The pieces are completely understated: music just for music's sake, but, not giving anything away.

Of course, now I have to hear the Viotti on Erato/Apex! ::)
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns: Chamber Music
Post by: snyprrr on September 27, 2010, 06:20:34 AM
Anyone have opinions of the PIANO QUARTET? Or, what's yer fav SS chamber work? Some have liked the Clarinet Sonata the best.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns: Chamber Music
Post by: snyprrr on September 28, 2010, 05:19:38 AM
Anyone have opinions of the PIANO QUARTET? Or, what's yer fav SS chamber work? Some have liked the Clarinet Sonata the best.

dear snyprrr,

the piano quartet, on youtube, made me sleepy.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: karlhenning on September 29, 2010, 02:28:07 PM
The Piano Quartet played by the Nash Ensemble does not make me sleepy.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Mirror Image on September 29, 2010, 03:45:02 PM
On most days, Saint-Saens bores the living hell out of me, but I do enjoy his Piano Concertos and Danse Macabre. Other than that, he's mostly fluff to me.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: listener on September 29, 2010, 09:25:12 PM
We had the  "Egyptian" Piano Concerto (#5) played by Avan Yu this past weekend, and also the Coronation March op.117 written for the coronation of Edward VII (and re-using material from his opera Henry VIII.  I've never  seen a recording of the march but the concert was recorded by the C.B.C. and I'll try to get a broadcast date as it will be on line.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: The new erato on September 30, 2010, 03:52:20 AM
On most days, Saint-Saens bores the living hell out of me, but I do enjoy his Piano Concertos and Danse Macabre. Other than that, he's mostly fluff to me.
Certainly not a "deep" composer, and certainly variable, but what I associate with him is fun. Lots of his chamber music (as well as Carnival of the animals) is simply fun listening.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: JoshLilly on October 22, 2010, 11:28:03 AM
How many have read his Musical Memories?  It's truly fascinating, reading of his meetings with the likes of Rossini and Liszt, of his varying opinions of Massenet as a musician and as a person, and so on.  I wish it were longer.  An English translation can be read for free here:

http://books.google.com/books?id=MOcPAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=Musical+Memories+Camille+site:books.google.com&source=bl&ots=-wPEah_VT3&sig=Tc4ulFNCL9unA4wmd8bNNW3IRqw&hl=en&ei=OdbBTN6JBMn2nAeLubyUAg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBMQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

I highly recommend it, as it - or at least this English translation - contains some really memorable and clever, quotable lines.  Included is this passage that perhaps could be turned onto his own works, for those who don't think too highly of his music.

"it is not the absence of defects but the presence of merits which makes works and men great.  It is not always well to be without blemish.  A too regular face or too pure voice lacks expression.  If there is no such thing as perfection in this world, it is doubtless because it is not needed."


He also described some of the trends of music in his last years - singling out the "a-tonic" music:

"the man who abandons all keys and piles up dissonances which he neither introduces nor concludes and who, as a result, grunts his way through music as a pig through a flower garden."
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: tarantella on June 16, 2011, 01:43:01 AM
Just picked up this new disc of Saint-Saens music for piano (some charming and relatively unknown piano pieces, as well as a few barnstormers) and his superb Cello Sonata in C minor which is a masterpiece. Just released this month, playing and sound quality are first rate
http://www.crotchet.co.uk/CDE84433.html
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Szykneij on March 31, 2012, 06:17:13 AM
I was familiar with Saint-Saëns' well-known works (Organ Symphony, Carnival of the Animals, Danse Macabre, etc.), and while I could appreciate the composer's talent, his music didn't really grab me in an emotional way. Then, on a whim, I picked up a recording of his String Quartets and I find them to be delightful listening. Maybe it's due partly to this stressful time of year, but the CD has been in my car stereo for a few days now and I look forward to experiencing the delicate beauty and calming influence it provides as I rush to and from  my various destinations.

It also motivated me to go to my vinyl shelves and give a spin to my Arthur Grumiaux 1954 Epic recording of the previously recommended Violin Concerto No. 3 (op. 61),  Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso (Op. 28), and Havanaise (Op. 83). This is an excellent mono recording that doesn't appear to have made it yet to CD.

Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 31, 2012, 06:51:44 AM
The Saint-Saëns concerted works are uniformly superb.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Mirror Image on June 11, 2012, 11:31:40 AM
Only five pages for Saint-Saëns? ??? WTF?!?!?
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: snyprrr on June 12, 2012, 04:34:34 AM
Only five pages for Saint-Saëns? ??? WTF?!?!?

Well,... come ON! ::)


I was familiar with Saint-Saëns' well-known works (Organ Symphony, Carnival of the Animals, Danse Macabre, etc.), and while I could appreciate the composer's talent, his music didn't really grab me in an emotional way. Then, on a whim, I picked up a recording of his String Quartets and I find them to be delightful listening. Maybe it's due partly to this stressful time of year, but the CD has been in my car stereo for a few days now and I look forward to experiencing the delicate beauty and calming influence it provides as I rush to and from  my various destinations.

It also motivated me to go to my vinyl shelves and give a spin to my Arthur Grumiaux 1954 Epic recording of the previously recommended Violin Concerto No. 3 (op. 61),  Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso (Op. 28), and Havanaise (Op. 83). This is an excellent mono recording that doesn't appear to have made it yet to CD.



Saint-Saens's SQs are probably the 'smoothest' Romantic SQs I know of. Though not Impressionistic, they flow like a dream. Though the melodic line may not be the most striking, the overall effect of both is of the highest quality, even though we're not dealing with life and... oh, wait, No.2 was written 'over' WWI, yet the master's sentiment is noble...

I highly recommend the SQs for stress! I have the Medici on Koch, a very special performance, though, the Miami SQ was also very good. The label that Skyznik (sorry, that's what my dis-lexic brain sees!!) has also gotten good reviews. Everyone should try these on a summer afternoon. Perfect!
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns Reconsidered
Post by: Cato on August 08, 2012, 04:32:00 PM
On Tuesday night I happened to catch most of the Saint-Saens Piano Concerto #5, which I had not heard since the early 1970's.

One's ears change throughout the decades, and I was rather amazed to (re)discover a considerable emotional depth in the work, which some have dismissed as "facile."  (see below)

In today's Wall Street Journal (August 8th) - perhaps not by chance - an article about Saint-Saens appeared as part of the promotion of the Hudson Valley Bard Music Festival and its Saint-Saens concerts.

Some salient excerpts:

Quote
This year, Bard trains its lens on Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921), one of 19th-century France's most gifted musicians, but a figure largely misunderstood by posterity. For too long, Saint-Saëns's inventive power has been dismissed as facile, his elegant classicism as shallow and his light touch as light-weight. His oeuvre comprises more than 300 works in almost every genre. He was even the first important composer to write a film score—which he did at age 73 for the French silent film "The Assassination of the Duc de Guise" (1908). Yet only a handful of his works are regularly performed today.

Quoting Leon Botstein:

Quote
"There was a sweeping dismissal of emotional expression and of art that represented the capacity to take great pains to achieve Classical refinement and beauty. And who is effectively the 'poster child' for everything that modernism rebelled against? Camille Saint-Saëns.

"His music i(is)... about commanding and augmenting the vast realm of basic musical craftsmanship descending from Bach and Mozart."

See:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443687504577563062546203808.html?mod=WSJ_LifeStyle_Lifestyle_5#articleTabs%3Darticle (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443687504577563062546203808.html?mod=WSJ_LifeStyle_Lifestyle_5#articleTabs%3Darticle)
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns Reconsidered
Post by: eyeresist on August 08, 2012, 05:52:28 PM
On Tuesday night I happened to catch most of the Saint-Saens Piano Concerto #5, which I had not heard since the early 1970's.

One's ears change throughout the decades, and I was rather amazed to (re)discover a considerable emotional depth in the work, which some have dismissed as "facile."

I will listen to 5 today - it's been a while.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns Reconsidered
Post by: Cato on August 09, 2012, 02:54:07 AM
I will listen to 5 today - it's been a while.

Many moons ago I had a great recording of the Second and Fourth Piano Concertos with Philippe Entremont, Eugene Ormandy, and The Philadelphia Orchestra .
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: madaboutmahler on October 10, 2012, 01:05:28 PM
Out of interest, which is everyone's favourite Organ Symphony?

I might venture outside the fantastic Dutoit performance at some point. :) (which I think is the only performance I have ever heard, along with the great recent Chung Proms performance on youtube)
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Mirror Image on October 10, 2012, 01:11:59 PM
Out of interest, which is everyone's favourite Organ Symphony?

I might venture outside the fantastic Dutoit performance at some point. :) (which I think is the only performance I have ever heard, along with the great recent Chung Proms performance on youtube)

I have several favorites, but my current favorite is Levine/Berliners on DG. It doesn't get much better than this IMHO.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Lisztianwagner on October 10, 2012, 01:20:14 PM
Out of interest, which is everyone's favourite Organ Symphony?

I might venture outside the fantastic Dutoit performance at some point. :) (which I think is the only performance I have ever heard, along with the great recent Chung Proms performance on youtube)

My favourite recording of Saint-Saëns' Organ Symphony is the Karajan, what a great expressive strenght (particularly, in the final section) and orchestral brilliance it shows! The 3rd is also my favourite of Saint-Saëns' symphonies; it's a very beautiful and elegant work, and I really love its orchestration, especially the wonderful use of piano and organ.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Mirror Image on October 10, 2012, 01:22:17 PM
My favourite recording of Saint-Saëns' Organ Symphony is the Karajan, what a great expressive strenght (particularly, in the final section) and orchestral brilliance it shows! The 3rd is also my favourite of Saint-Saëns' symphonies; it's a very beautiful and elegant work, and I really love its orchestration, especially the wonderful use of piano and organ.

Of course this isn't personal bias speaking. ;) :)
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Lisztianwagner on October 10, 2012, 01:26:37 PM
Of course this isn't personal bias speaking. ;) :)

Of course it isn't. :P
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Mirror Image on October 10, 2012, 01:30:41 PM
Of course it isn't. :P

What other performances of the Saint-Saens' 3rd have you heard?
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: madaboutmahler on October 10, 2012, 01:38:33 PM
Thanks for the feedback, John and Ilaria! (Ilaria, I thought yours may be the Karajan!! ;) ) The 3rd symphony is such an impressive work. I agree, Ilaria, that the orchestration is brilliant, especially in the last two movements! (like in the 3rd, when it goes a little mad, using the piano arpeggios and shimmers of light percussion). I love the piece very much!

Saint Saens is certainly a composer whom I admire very much, I enjoy so much of his music. I particularly love the 3rd symphony, the piano concerti, VC 3 (in Laure's performance of course!!), and the masterful 'miniatures' such as Danse Macabre, which no-one cannot enjoy!!

I am actually yet to listen to his first two symphonies, what are they like?
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: PaulSC on October 10, 2012, 01:42:11 PM
Out of interest, which is everyone's favourite Organ Symphony?
For me, it's a tossup between kidney and gall bladder. :P
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: CriticalI on October 10, 2012, 08:06:21 PM
I do like SS3 a lot. I like how he encapsulates where Romantic music had arrived - Verdi in the 1st movement, Bruckner in the adagio, maybe Tchaikovsky for the scherzo Beethoven's 9th is the obvious touchstone for the scherzo, plus "back to Bach" for the finale's chorale theme. Great tunes, terrific rich orchestration. I just wish the finale felt a bit more "serious" - it's too much of a showpiece to be cathartic or transcendant.

I haven't made a survey of the recordings, sadly. Like everyone, I have a few de Waart versions, and they are servicable, but I usually reach for the classic Munch RCA version. I admit Munch's approach could afford to contain more subtleties. Apart from these, I recall being disappointed by Barenboim's version (in the Panorama set), but I should listen to that again one day.

From everything I've read I think Levine will please me, but getting his version just hasn't been a priority.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Mirror Image on October 10, 2012, 08:14:31 PM
From everything I've read I think Levine will please me, but getting his version just hasn't been a priority.

I bought the Levine over a year or two ago, but now you can purchase it quite cheaply as it's apart of DG's First Choice budget series.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Lisztianwagner on October 11, 2012, 03:18:59 AM
What other performances of the Saint-Saens' 3rd have you heard?

Dutoit/Montreal Symphony Orchestra
Munch/Boston Symphony Orchestra
Chung/Royal Concertgebouw
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Mirror Image on October 11, 2012, 07:01:43 AM
Dutoit/Montreal Symphony Orchestra
Munch/Boston Symphony Orchestra
Chung/Royal Concertgebouw

Haven't heard the Chung, but enjoyed the Dutoit and Munch. Let's see if can remember which ones I own and have heard:

Dutoit/MSO
Munch/BSO
Levine/BPO
Martinon/ORTF National Orch.
Mata/DSO
Ozawa/Orchestre National de France

I think this is it. Not too many performances.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: mc ukrneal on October 11, 2012, 07:21:05 AM
I am actually yet to listen to his first two symphonies, what are they like?
He actually wrote 5 symphonies, which can are nicely packaged together on EMI with Martinon conducting. They are not as famous as #3 but they do have a lot of the same qualities. S-S is always quite melodic and the pieces, though perhaps not as deep (or quite as personnel) as Mahler, have a wonderful atmosphere to them. I highly recommend the set.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Mirror Image on October 11, 2012, 07:23:36 AM
He actually wrote 5 symphonies, which can are nicely packaged together on EMI with Martinon conducting. They are not as famous as #3 but they do have a lot of the same qualities. S-S is always quite melodic and the pieces, though perhaps not as deep (or quite as personnel) as Mahler, have a wonderful atmosphere to them. I highly recommend the set.

Yes, that is a good set, so I endorse this message. :)
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: madaboutmahler on October 11, 2012, 10:21:42 AM
Thank you for the feedback on the recordings and the symphonies everyone! I shall definitely look into getting the Martinon set, and also the Levine SS3 (and the Karajan too, Ilaria! ;) )

And which is everyone's favourite set of the piano concerti? I own the Roge/Dutoit which I am very happy with. Really wonderful performances!
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: mc ukrneal on October 11, 2012, 10:27:51 AM
Thank you for the feedback on the recordings and the symphonies everyone! I shall definitely look into getting the Martinon set, and also the Levine SS3 (and the Karajan too, Ilaria! ;) )

And which is everyone's favourite set of the piano concerti? I own the Roge/Dutoit which I am very happy with. Really wonderful performances!
That one for me too, so far. I haven't heard the Collard, which I may pick up one of these days.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Sergeant Rock on October 11, 2012, 11:13:37 AM
Out of interest, which is everyone's favourite Organ Symphony?

Barenboim. It's one of those rare performances, so perfect, that I no longer listen to anyone else.

(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/aug11/SSorganbaren.jpg)

Sarge
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Sergeant Rock on October 11, 2012, 11:23:32 AM
And which is everyone's favourite set of the piano concerti? I own the Roge/Dutoit which I am very happy with. Really wonderful performances!

The Audite cycle with Malikova and Sanderling.

Sarge
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Lisztianwagner on October 11, 2012, 12:05:58 PM
Thank you for the feedback on the recordings and the symphonies everyone! I shall definitely look into getting the Martinon set, and also the Levine SS3 (and the Karajan too, Ilaria! ;) )

And which is everyone's favourite set of the piano concerti? I own the Roge/Dutoit which I am very happy with. Really wonderful performances!

So glad to hear that, Daniel. ;) Although I haven't listened to it yet, I think the Martinon set should be very good; Martinon is an excellent interpreter of French music.
About the piano concerti, I've heard only Collard' set, which is very beautiful.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: madaboutmahler on October 11, 2012, 12:17:56 PM
Thanks for all the feedback everyone! The Collard set of the concerti is certainly one I'd love to hear. The piano concerti are such exquisite works! :)

And thanks for more of the SS 3 feedback, the Barenboim and Pretre will also have to be ones I look into. I'd certainly love to own all these recordings of the symphony!

Yes, I can certainly imagine the Martinon being excellent, Ilaria! :)
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Mirror Image on October 11, 2012, 08:07:11 PM
For the piano concerti, I do like Roge/Dutoit a lot, but I think the new winner is this set:

(http://cdn.7static.com/static/img/sleeveart/00/009/562/0000956220_500.jpg)

For me, it doesn't get any better than this: incredible pianism from Malikova, assertive accompaniment from Sanderling, and exquisite playing from the Cologne Radio Symphony (one of my all-time favorite orchestras). The audio quality is also top-notch. Crystal clear dynamics. I don't want you to not go for the Collard, which is a good, reliable set by any standard, but just letting you know this: why drive a rough Honda when you could drive a Cadillac? The only difference here is you're not paying the Cadillac tag price. ;) :D
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Mirror Image on November 21, 2012, 09:21:16 PM
I still stand by my comments about these performances. Absolutely first-rate performances. The only set of PCs that I don't own is Hough's, which I heard isn't nowhere near as accomplished as the sets I already own: Malikova, Collard, and Roge.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: mc ukrneal on November 21, 2012, 09:37:02 PM
I still stand by my comments about these performances. Absolutely first-rate performances. The only set of PCs that I don't own is Hough's, which I heard isn't nowhere near as accomplished as the sets I already own: Malikova, Collard, and Roge.
Having heard the Hough (and still owning it), I would say the problem is the sound, not the playing. It is the only Hyperion disc that I can think of that has disappointed me on the technical side (and I have a ton), though it is perhaps a personal preference. It always sounds to me as if the sound is dampened and not allowed to bloom. The Roge/Dutoit sounds much more open and warm in comparison (to me).

A lot of people rave about the playing of the Hough (it won various awards after all), and I would agree that it is quite accomplished and assured. 
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Mirror Image on November 21, 2012, 10:01:24 PM
Having heard the Hough (and still owning it), I would say the problem is the sound, not the playing. It is the only Hyperion disc that I can think of that has disappointed me on the technical side (and I have a ton), though it is perhaps a personal preference. It always sounds to me as if the sound is dampened and not allowed to bloom. The Roge/Dutoit sounds much more open and warm in comparison (to me).

A lot of people rave about the playing of the Hough (it won various awards after all), and I would agree that it is quite accomplished and assured.

Thanks for your feedback, Neal. This is what I've heard about the Hough set. For these concerti, it's absolutely vital that the recording quality is not only consistent, but like you said open. This could very well be the reason why I haven't bought the set already and your comments have definitely reassured some suspicions I've had about the audio quality. I already own three outstanding sets anyway. This Malikova is my favorite of the three I own. For years, Roge/Dutoit were my standbys, but it seems this newer set gave these concerti a much needed sonic boost. It also helps if the soloist/conductor are on the same page and it's a true collaborative effort which I believe these performances are. Have you heard the Malikova/Sanderling?
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: mc ukrneal on November 21, 2012, 10:07:24 PM
Thanks for your feedback, Neal. This is what I've heard about the Hough set. For these concerti, it's absolutely vital that the recording quality is not only consistent, but like you said open. This could very well be the reason why I haven't bought the set already and your comments have definitely reassured some suspicions I've had about the audio quality. I already own three outstanding sets anyway. This Malikova is my favorite of the three I own. For years, Roge/Dutoit were my standbys, but it seems this newer set gave these concerti a much needed sonic boost. It also helps if the soloist/conductor are on the same page and it's a true collaborative effort which I believe these performances are. Have you heard the Malikova/Sanderling?
Not yet. One day...
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Mirror Image on November 21, 2012, 10:09:16 PM
Not yet. One day...

A possible Christmas present? :)
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: lescamil on November 21, 2012, 10:33:55 PM
I have both the Hough and the Malikova and the Hough is great aside from the sound. I alternate between Malikova and Hough. Hough's problem is the sound, and Malikova's problem is that her playing can seem too safe on occasion, especially in comparison to Hough, who can really push the envelope. Both do bring a new life to the overplayed second concerto. Malikova's recording of the third concerto is just insufferably boring for me, though. Hough is really head and shoulders above her on that one, but they are competitive on the others.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Mirror Image on November 21, 2012, 10:39:29 PM
I have both the Hough and the Malikova and the Hough is great aside from the sound. I alternate between Malikova and Hough. Hough's problem is the sound, and Malikova's problem is that her playing can seem too safe on occasion, especially in comparison to Hough, who can really push the envelope. Both do bring a new life to the overplayed second concerto. Malikova's recording of the third concerto is just insufferably boring for me, though. Hough is really head and shoulders above her on that one, but they are competitive on the others.

I liked Malikova's performance of the 3rd, but I always thought of this work as a dreamy type of sound-world. I'll have to go and listen to Roge's performance of it. I also don't think Malikova's playing is 'safe.' I'm not looking for a Martha Argerich performance in these concerti. For me, these types of performances are out-of-character in these works. These concerti require not only an ear for the inner details, but they also demand a lightness of touch. But it shouldn't be surprising that you and I disagree about recordings, because we disagree about about many composers as well.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: snyprrr on November 22, 2012, 08:57:03 AM
I enjoy S-S's Late Sonatas, and especially the two String Quartets. He got just that little extra bit of gravitas at the end.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on November 22, 2012, 09:41:13 AM
.....(although I don't rate his chamber music quite as highly as some...).

Old post, but sort of slim pickings on this thread. Just wanted to say I've recently gotten to know SS's first cello sonata. It's the performance below. Either the work is intentionally written with an ear towards depth or the performers dig deeply into the score to fatten it up. Either way it's an astounding piece. (But that's as far as I've gotten with SS and his chamber output).






The rest of the disc is equally fascinating.


Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on November 22, 2012, 10:32:56 AM
As far as the Organ symphony, samples of the Barenboim recording sound enticing. But samples of this Nézet-Séguin recording sound equally enticing. Anyone heard it?





Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Mirror Image on November 22, 2012, 06:49:06 PM
Old post, but sort of slim pickings on this thread. Just wanted to say I've recently gotten to know SS's first cello sonata. It's the performance below. Either the work is intentionally written with an ear towards depth or the performers dig deeply into the score to fatten it up. Either way it's an astounding piece. (But that's as far as I've gotten with SS and his chamber output).






The rest of the disc is equally fascinating.

Can't say I've heard the Cello Concerto No. 1 nor the Cello Sonata No. 1, but I imagine them being beautiful, melodic works. I've heard his Cello Concerto No. 2, which is just a gorgeous work. His music for violin is just as inspired. Saint-Saens is one of the few composers who I like their orchestral and chamber works. It's usually one or the other. He's such an amazing composer that whose star seems to have faded in recent decades. Not sure why. During his lifetime, he was highly praised and rightfully so.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Mirror Image on November 22, 2012, 06:51:38 PM
As far as the Organ symphony, samples of the Barenboim recording sound enticing. But samples of this Nézet-Séguin recording sound equally enticing. Anyone heard it?





I wouldn't mind picking it up but it appears to be out-of-print. Do you have a current favorite Organ Symphony, DD?
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: snyprrr on November 22, 2012, 08:07:02 PM
Old post, but sort of slim pickings on this thread. Just wanted to say I've recently gotten to know SS's first cello sonata. It's the performance below. Either the work is intentionally written with an ear towards depth or the performers dig deeply into the score to fatten it up. Either way it's an astounding piece. (But that's as far as I've gotten with SS and his chamber output).





That does look especially enticing.


The rest of the disc is equally fascinating.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on November 22, 2012, 09:14:59 PM
I wouldn't mind picking it up but it appears to be out-of-print. Do you have a current favorite Organ Symphony, DD?

Y'know, I don't actually have a recording of the Organ symphony, nor any of SS's symphonies. In fact, my collection of SS amounts to only three CD's. But ironically I've heard quite a bit of SS as my local classical station programs his music pretty often.

It's not that I don't like SS - I do - it's just there's so much music out there to collect.

Lately I'm looking at his symphonies, his PCs, his first two VCs (I have his third), and maybe his opera.

It's new territory for me but it's a journey I'm happy to take on!


Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Mirror Image on November 22, 2012, 10:29:35 PM
Y'know, I don't actually have a recording of the Organ symphony, nor any of SS's symphonies. In fact, my collection of SS amounts to only three CD's. But ironically I've heard quite a bit of SS as my local classical station programs his music pretty often.

It's not that I don't like SS - I do - it's just there's so much music out there to collect.

Lately I'm looking at his symphonies, his PCs, his first two VCs (I have his third), and maybe his opera.

It's new territory for me but it's a journey I'm happy to take on!

His concerti are fine. His symphonies are uneven in inspiration. The first symphony sounds like leftover Mendelssohn. The second he begins to find his voice and the third needs no explanation. I own a good bit of Saint-Saens and he's certainly a composer I enjoy very much, but I have found his music works better, for me, in small doses. I don't try to overload myself with his music. In the end, I have to have more grit and edge in my music, which is why Shostakovich is my favorite composer. I don't think Saint-Saens is a composer of much depth, but his music sure is fun! :)
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on November 23, 2012, 07:09:59 PM
His concerti are fine. His symphonies are uneven in inspiration. The first symphony sounds like leftover Mendelssohn. The second he begins to find his voice and the third needs no explanation. I own a good bit of Saint-Saens and he's certainly a composer I enjoy very much, but I have found his music works better, for me, in small doses. I don't try to overload myself with his music. In the end, I have to have more grit and edge in my music, which is why Shostakovich is my favorite composer. I don't think Saint-Saens is a composer of much depth, but his music sure is fun! :)

Thanks for the assessment, MI. I probably won't need to binge on SS but I agree there's lots of potential.


Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Brian on November 23, 2012, 09:43:07 PM
I wouldn't mind picking it up but it appears to be out-of-print. Do you have a current favorite Organ Symphony, DD?

The regular CD (as opposed to SACD) of the Nezet-Seguin performance is in stock for $18 at ArkivMusic (http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=381752) and can be downloaded via MP3 or FLAC (http://www.classicsonline.com/catalogue/product.aspx?pid=225314&countryId=US&lc=EN) for those interested.

As an aside, I love all five piano concertos dearly and, although I have heard a lot of solo piano music by SS that I liked, the ongoing complete survey by Geoffrey Burleson is disappointingly played. Piers Lane's excellent etudes CD on Hyperion should be sufficient to fill up the SS piano music niche in your library.

For some reason I'm weirdly intrigued by the idea of hearing his organ music.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Mirror Image on November 24, 2012, 07:59:40 AM
The regular CD (as opposed to SACD) of the Nezet-Seguin performance is in stock for $18 at ArkivMusic (http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=381752) and can be downloaded via MP3 or FLAC (http://www.classicsonline.com/catalogue/product.aspx?pid=225314&countryId=US&lc=EN) for those interested.

That recording is too expensive, especially for a work that has been recorded many, many times. When it comes down to $6 or $7, I'll pick it up.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: mc ukrneal on November 24, 2012, 08:10:01 AM
The regular CD (as opposed to SACD) of the Nezet-Seguin performance is in stock for $18 at ArkivMusic (http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=381752) and can be downloaded via MP3 or FLAC (http://www.classicsonline.com/catalogue/product.aspx?pid=225314&countryId=US&lc=EN) for those interested.
Actually, when you add in shipping, you will add $1-3, so it will be $19-21. Amazon have a used copy for $18.75 (includes shipping). MDT have it, and if it goes on sale, would probably get to the $14-15 range with shipping. I'd wait if a disc version is needed.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on November 27, 2012, 06:57:15 PM
The regular CD (as opposed to SACD) of the Nezet-Seguin performance is in stock for $18 at ArkivMusic (http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=381752) and can be downloaded via MP3 or FLAC (http://www.classicsonline.com/catalogue/product.aspx?pid=225314&countryId=US&lc=EN) for those interested.

That recording is too expensive, especially for a work that has been recorded many, many times. When it comes down to $6 or $7, I'll pick it up.

Sorry, I made a mistake in my post above. The Amazon link I posted was to the Hybrid SACD, which apparently is OOP.

The regular CD is still in print and much more economically priced. It's moved to the top of my wishlist.






Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Mirror Image on November 27, 2012, 07:20:19 PM
Sorry, I made a mistake in my post above. The Amazon link I posted was to the Hybrid SACD, which apparently is OOP.

The regular CD is still in print and much more economically priced. It's moved to the top of my wishlist.






Oh, I see. I like this CD price much better. :)
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: kyjo on August 24, 2013, 03:32:22 PM
Due to recent discussion of the S-S PCs in another thread.....

The only recordings I own of the PCs are the fantastic ones by Roge/Dutoit on Decca. It's hard to beat both Roge and Dutoit in French repertoire and when you pair them up, you have true French greatness. :) But, there have been some other recordings of them which have received much acclaim:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61Ik7ru8-FL._SX300_.jpg)   (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51A8fsmLecL._SX300_.jpg)    (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61ctT%2BrjjBL._SX300_.jpg)   (http://pixhost.me/avaxhome/2008-06-17/saintsaens_thibaudet.jpg)

How do members feel these recordings measure up to Roge/Dutoit (which, I, at the moment, couldn't imagine being bettered)? Thanks in advance. :)
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on August 24, 2013, 05:25:40 PM
Due to recent discussion of the S-S PCs in another thread.....

My favorite is the second concerto and for that I really enjoy El Bacha/Verrot. Sample if you can - it's worth it.




Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Mirror Image on August 24, 2013, 05:36:25 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61ctT%2BrjjBL._SX300_.jpg)

How do members feel these recordings measure up to Roge/Dutoit (which, I, at the moment, couldn't imagine being bettered)? Thanks in advance. :)

I own every set of Saint-Saens' PCs and my vote goes to Malikova/Sanderling. Such deeply felt performances. I do like Roge/Dutoit a lot as well but the Malikova is worth owning.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: kyjo on August 24, 2013, 06:57:43 PM
Thanks, Dancing Divertimentian and John. :)
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: mc ukrneal on August 24, 2013, 07:23:19 PM
Due to recent discussion of the S-S PCs in another thread.....

The only recordings I own of the PCs are the fantastic ones by Roge/Dutoit on Decca. It's hard to beat both Roge and Dutoit in French repertoire and when you pair them up, you have true French greatness. :) But, there have been some other recordings of them which have received much acclaim:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61Ik7ru8-FL._SX300_.jpg)   (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51A8fsmLecL._SX300_.jpg)    (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61ctT%2BrjjBL._SX300_.jpg)   (http://pixhost.me/avaxhome/2008-06-17/saintsaens_thibaudet.jpg)

How do members feel these recordings measure up to Roge/Dutoit (which, I, at the moment, couldn't imagine being bettered)? Thanks in advance. :)
The AUdite version is very popular here. I still haven't rushed out to get it as I have two versions, but it sits in my wishlist nevertheless. I would NOT recommend the Hough on Hyperion. It's not because of the playing (which is fine), but because of the sound. I have nearly every one of that romantic piano series (excluding the most recent), and that is the only one where I find the sound very harsh. Collard also is popular. I think the Roge is a good one, so whatever you get, you have a good fall back position!
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: kyjo on August 25, 2013, 06:03:43 AM
The AUdite version is very popular here. I still haven't rushed out to get it as I have two versions, but it sits in my wishlist nevertheless. I would NOT recommend the Hough on Hyperion. It's not because of the playing (which is fine), but because of the sound. I have nearly every one of that romantic piano series (excluding the most recent), and that is the only one where I find the sound very harsh. Collard also is popular. I think the Roge is a good one, so whatever you get, you have a good fall back position!

Thanks, mc ukrneal. :) I've put the Audite disc on my want list.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 25, 2013, 07:27:45 AM
How do members feel these recordings measure up to Roge/Dutoit (which, I, at the moment, couldn't imagine being bettered)? Thanks in advance. :)

I have these:

SANDERLING/MALIKOVA
FROMENT/TACCHINO
BAUDO/CICCOLINI
PREVIN/COLLARD
DUTOIT/ROGÉ

Malikova is my favorite; Rogé my least favorite (partly due to tempo: Malikova is marginally slower, which adds weight and seriousness when appropriate but never at the expense of the music's spirit). Overall I think very highly of Collard too but Previn screws up the tempo and rhythm of second movement's hymn theme in the Fourth Concerto. Since that's my single favorite moment, it's an unforgiveable sin.

We've discussed these concertos considerably in the past. I tried to find some of my discussion but failed, and I'm too lazy to put forth arguments now for my choices. I did find these amusing (and contentious) posts by mszczuj in the SS PC poll thread:

Dutoit's Saint-Saens? This is abolutely the worst thing available on records.

Well, may be I have exaggerated. In fact I can't say that Dutoit's Concerto No.4 is worse than his Danse macabre.

No emotions, no fantasy, no l'esprit. Listening to Dutoit's Saint-Saens is for me as fascinating as counting pickets in a mile long fence.

I don't dislike the Dutoit cycle quite that much...but it is last I'd save in a fire  :D  But you aren't alone in loving Rogé. It's well thought of.

Sarge
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: kyjo on August 25, 2013, 07:35:33 AM
I have these:

SANDERLING/MALIKOVA
FROMENT/TACCHINO
BAUDO/CICCOLINI
PREVIN/COLLARD
DUTOIT/ROGÉ

Malikova is my favorite; Rogé my least favorite (partly due to tempo: Malikova is marginally slower, which adds weight and seriousness when appropriate but never at the expense of the music's spirit). Overall I think very highly of Collard too but Previn screws up the tempo and rhythm of second movement's hymn theme in the Fourth Concerto. Since that's my single favorite moment, it's an unforgiveable sin.

We've discussed these concertos considerably in the past. I tried to find some of my discussion but failed, and I'm too lazy to put forth arguments now for my choices. I did find these amusing (and contentious) posts by mszczuj in the SS PC poll thread:

I don't dislike the Dutoit cycle quite that much...but it is last I'd save in a fire  :D  But you aren't alone in loving Rogé. It's well thought of.

Sarge

Thanks for the extensive reply, Sarge. The way you describe Malikova's performances sound quite promising. These concertos need to be played with enough weight and seriousness to prevent them from hinting at any triteness.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: mc ukrneal on August 25, 2013, 07:41:31 AM
We've discussed these concertos considerably in the past. I tried to find some of my discussion but failed, and I'm too lazy to put forth arguments now for my choices.
How about:
http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,9.msg340117/topicseen.html#msg340117 (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,9.msg340117/topicseen.html#msg340117)
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 26, 2013, 08:19:49 AM
How about:
http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,9.msg340117/topicseen.html#msg340117 (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,9.msg340117/topicseen.html#msg340117)

That was fine detective work, Neal. Nicely done. Thanks.

Sarge
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Mirror Image on March 27, 2014, 06:59:52 PM
Thought I'd knock some dust off the SS thread...

Cross-posted from the 'Purchases' thread -

A little Saint-Saens concerti splurge:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/81PBHh0DcAL._SL1400_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/81ULJ%2BneV6L._SL1500_.jpg)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/816UCwvQ7HL._SL1500_.jpg)

Anyone know any of these recordings? I've done some extensive sampling of them all and they all sound first-rate. Can't wait to sink my teeth back into the concertante works.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: mc ukrneal on March 27, 2014, 08:31:55 PM
Thought I'd knock some dust off the SS thread...

Cross-posted from the 'Purchases' thread -

Anyone know any of these recordings? I've done some extensive sampling of them all and they all sound first-rate. Can't wait to sink my teeth back into the concertante works.
I have the Ulf Hoelscher recordings from the Newton box (Violin Concertos) - outstanding (though I have never compared them to others).
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Mirror Image on March 27, 2014, 08:56:02 PM
I have the Ulf Hoelscher recordings from the Newton box (Violin Concertos) - outstanding (though I have never compared them to others).

Good to hear, Neal. I believe Sarge mentioned he liked the Ciccolini/Baudo cycle of PCs, though I'd like to hear some input from him too! :)
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Octave on March 28, 2014, 01:07:31 AM
I got those Hoelscher recordings in the little Brilliant box with Martinon's symphonies and Tacchino's piano concertos, and I liked them very much.  I think my only point of comparison [vln ctos] is the Graffin recording on Hyperion....nope, it's still in the shrinkwrap.   :-[

I am keen to check out more chamber music: namely the piano trios (most likely either Wanderer or Florestan) and the woodwind sonatas (no idea...maybe a Naxos disc just to hear a bunch of them), next.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: mc ukrneal on March 28, 2014, 02:37:13 AM
I got those Hoelscher recordings in the little Brilliant box with Martinon's symphonies and Tacchino's piano concertos, and I liked them very much.  I think my only point of comparison [vln ctos] is the Graffin recording on Hyperion....nope, it's still in the shrinkwrap.   :-[

I am keen to check out more chamber music: namely the piano trios (most likely either Wanderer or Florestan) and the woodwind sonatas (no idea...maybe a Naxos disc just to hear a bunch of them), next.
For the sonatas and some other wonderful chamber works, highly recommend this double disc, which used to be at Berkshire:

Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Octave on March 28, 2014, 05:38:47 AM
Thanks for that recommendation, Neal.  One recent recommendation (not someone I know, just someone online) spoke highly of a recent Piano Quintet/Quartet with Cristina Ortiz (Naxos), going so far as to say that by comparison the Nash's recordings were 'dull'.  Do you happen to know that Naxos recording? 
However, I am not assuming the Nash's S-S is anything like 'dull'!

Another piece that I'd like to explore is the REQUIEM; I received a recommendation for the classic Mercier, but if there is a more recent recording that equals or exceeds it, that would be interesting.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Sergeant Rock on March 28, 2014, 06:45:31 AM
Good to hear, Neal. I believe Sarge mentioned he liked the Ciccolini/Baudo cycle of PCs, though I'd like to hear some input from him too! :)


Yeah, it's one of my favorite S-S PC sets (100% French forces  8) ) with a particularly impressive C minor--just prepare yourself for an incredibly slow Allegro (after the second movement's Andante). They give that hymn-like theme some slow motion lovin'  :D

The only thing keeping it from being the absolute favorite set is the sound: it's decent analogue but the piano is balanced a little too forward for my taste, occasionally burying orchestral detail.

Sarge
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Mirror Image on March 28, 2014, 06:50:41 AM

Yeah, it's one of my favorite S-S PC sets (100% French forces  8) ) with a particularly impressive C minor--just prepare yourself for an incredibly slow Allegro (after the second movement's Andante). They give that hymn-like theme some slow motion lovin'  :D

The only thing keeping it from being the absolute favorite set is the sound: it's decent analogue but the piano is balanced a little too forward for my taste, occasionally burying orchestral detail.

Sarge

Thanks for the feedback, Sarge.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: mc ukrneal on March 28, 2014, 09:56:42 AM
Thanks for that recommendation, Neal.  One recent recommendation (not someone I know, just someone online) spoke highly of a recent Piano Quintet/Quartet with Cristina Ortiz (Naxos), going so far as to say that by comparison the Nash's recordings were 'dull'.  Do you happen to know that Naxos recording? 
However, I am not assuming the Nash's S-S is anything like 'dull'!

Another piece that I'd like to explore is the REQUIEM; I received a recommendation for the classic Mercier, but if there is a more recent recording that equals or exceeds it, that would be interesting.
I don't have anything to compare it to - sorry. But I do have the Requiem on Chandos (Fasolis). I seem to recall liking it, but I will try to get back to you and let you know.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Mirror Image on March 28, 2014, 08:10:07 PM
It seems to be almost unanimous with all the Saint-Saens reviews I've read that the Mercier recording of the Requiem is the one to own and interestingly enough someone uploaded this performance on YT for all ears to hear. I've already heard the performance years ago and loved it, but I can't believe I waited until this morning to buy it. I suppose my mind was a bit preoccupied with the forty something other composers I love. ;) ;D
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Mirror Image on March 28, 2014, 08:17:26 PM
I got those Hoelscher recordings in the little Brilliant box with Martinon's symphonies and Tacchino's piano concertos, and I liked them very much.  I think my only point of comparison [vln ctos] is the Graffin recording on Hyperion....nope, it's still in the shrinkwrap.   :-[

I am keen to check out more chamber music: namely the piano trios (most likely either Wanderer or Florestan) and the woodwind sonatas (no idea...maybe a Naxos disc just to hear a bunch of them), next.

Yeah, I can't say I've had much exposure to the VCs other than a Chung recording I had bought a year or so ago, but I've been meaning to get around to giving them a listen again, which prompted me to make those purchases. Good to hear about Hoelscher. I've read many good things about his performances.

I, too, have been wondering about SS's chamber music and where to go. It seems those Hyperion recordings seem to be praised pretty highly. But something is nagging away in my mind to check out the Trio Wanderer's recording of the Piano Trios instead of the Florestan's. I don't know why exactly. In fact, I've been looking at a Harmonia Mundi recording of the Cello Sonata with Emmanuelle Bertrand that looks mighty tempting, but for some strange reason this recording seems like it's hard to get ahold of. I'm also looking at getting the Violin Sonatas disc on Hyperion, but, again, a nagging feeling inside of me tells me to avoid it. Again, don't know why.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Octave on March 29, 2014, 12:03:23 AM
Um, so apparently I already own the Nash Ensemble recording.   :-[
I was remembering a non-hardcopy sampling but didn't remember the purchase.  #FirstWorldProblems
Thanks for the recommendation, Neal.  It looks like that 2cd (Hyperion) includes all the wind pieces as the single Naxos disc [Canada's National Arts Centre Quintet +], with the exception of the Romance in E major, Op. 67 [arranged for piano/horn], which is only on the Naxos disc.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: mc ukrneal on March 29, 2014, 04:18:44 AM
Um, so apparently I already own the Nash Ensemble recording.   :-[
I was remembering a non-hardcopy sampling but didn't remember the purchase.  #FirstWorldProblems
Thanks for the recommendation, Neal.  It looks like that 2cd (Hyperion) includes all the wind pieces as the single Naxos disc [Canada's National Arts Centre Quintet +], with the exception of the Romance in E major, Op. 67 [arranged for piano/horn], which is only on the Naxos disc.
Well, there's your excuse to get that one too! And let us know... :)
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Mirror Image on March 30, 2014, 09:25:44 AM
Frustrating that I can't find the Bertrand recording of the Cello Sonatas for a good price. Agh!!!!
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on July 08, 2015, 06:27:59 AM
3rd violin concerto is really something. I like its light instrumentation, kind of reminds me in some way of Bach's VCs.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 08, 2015, 06:57:48 AM
3rd violin concerto is really something. I like its light instrumentation, kind of reminds me in some way of Bach's VCs.

Charming and perfectly wrought.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: 71 dB on January 19, 2016, 08:57:19 AM
Yesterday I heard Saint-Saëns' Violin Sonata No. 2 for the first time. Great work! I especially love the third movement.  0:)

Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on January 19, 2016, 10:22:29 AM
Yesterday I heard Saint-Saëns' Violin Sonata No. 2 for the first time. Great work! I especially love the third movement.  0:)



Yes, the second VS is great! I don't have the Naxos but the recording I do have I like.



 
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Scion7 on January 19, 2016, 05:30:14 PM
oh, yes - very nice piece

very little of Saint-Saens' instrumental work is less than excellent - good composer!
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on January 20, 2016, 03:16:29 AM
Listening to Piano Concerto no. 3. Awesome.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on June 07, 2016, 07:52:34 AM
Discovering new works. The first movement of PC 1 is breathtaking.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Mirror Image 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?
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on June 07, 2016, 08:05:51 AM
Jean-Philippe Collard, Royal philharmonic orchestra. André Previn.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Mirror Image 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:




Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: 28Orot 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”)

(http://clanfaw.free.fr/saint_saens_ico_a.jpg)

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...
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Scion7 on June 08, 2016, 08:48:20 PM
Sigh.
What a narrow vision of a fantastic composer.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Christo on June 08, 2016, 11:58:59 PM
Excellent cycle. My favorite cycle is this one with Anna Malikova:


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
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: mc ukrneal on June 09, 2016, 01:02:47 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 price for that set. It rarely goes so low.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Mirror Image 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?
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Mirror Image 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.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: mjmosca 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!
Title: Re: The Saint-Saëns Sanctuary
Post by: mjmosca 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?
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Que 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
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: mjmosca 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. 
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Maestro267 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.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: mjmosca 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.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: 71 dB 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.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: mjmosca 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.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: JRJoseph 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.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen 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.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Der Titan 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.

Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Scion7 on August 27, 2017, 02:51:59 PM
Glad you approve of his work.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: kyjo on October 25, 2017, 10:28:04 AM
I was recently listening to all the Saint-Saëns piano concertos (with Rogé/Dutoit on Decca)- they're such delightful, engaging, and surprising works from beginning to end. I think they're all pretty much of equal quality, though no. 2 is the most often-played by a considerable margin, nos. 4 and 5 are played every once in a while, and nos. 1 and 3 are hardly played at all. Here are my impressions of each:

1: An absolutely delightful work. The outer movements are bright and energetic (with a memorable recurring horn-call motor in the first), but the slow movement is strikingly inward and eschews the sentimentality that one would expect from a slow movement of the time.

2: A grand, Bachian first movement, a skittering scherzo (with its catchy cello tune), and a headstrong finale.

3: Like the 1st, a very underrated work. The first movement has a motto theme that recalls that of Schubert's "Great" C major symphony. The slow movement is profoundly poetic, and the thrilling finale starts off with a startlingly chromatic introduction.

4: Like the 2nd, an ingeniously structured work. The second (final) movement has that hymn-like "big tune" that I can never get out of my head after I listen.

5: The first movement is decidedly restrained, but the extraordinary second movement is anything but. From its gripping, rhythmically complex opening through the lovely "Nubian love song" second theme, this movement is a masterpiece in itself. The energetic third movement is hugely entertaining.

Who else here loves Saint-Saëns' PCs?
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Christo on October 25, 2017, 10:40:55 AM
Who else here loves Saint-Saëns' PCs?

I do, all of them - but the 'Egyptian' (No. 5) always held a special place for me.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Sergeant Rock on October 25, 2017, 10:43:21 AM
4: The second (final) movement has that hymn-like "big tune" that I can never get out of my head after I listen.

I love it.

Sarge
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: snyprrr on October 25, 2017, 02:13:24 PM
Listened to the String Quartet No.2 the other day. Mmm... it's quite light. I'm not sure how fond I was of it. It was definitely the shred of the ghost of the Romantic Era, a pale, non-offensive, yet somewhat bland perfection that just didn't grab me.


I'm checking out his final works, the three sonatas, for clarinet, oboe, and bassoon. Already, I found nothing much that I could bite onto in the Bassoon Sonata, amiable as it is. Perhaps I look for things in SS that just aren't there?

I did enjoy the Violin Sonata No.1 in d-minor, though... Midori?...


Aaaand, this time around I snoozed at the 'Danse Macabre', OH NOES!!...


What are your Top SS Guilty Pleasures?? (haven't listened to the Sym3 in decades, forget what it sounds like)
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Sergeant Rock on October 25, 2017, 02:17:30 PM
What are your Top SS Guilty Pleasures??

Nothing to be guilty of. I like his music unashamedly. He's a superb composer.

Sarge
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: kyjo on October 25, 2017, 02:58:38 PM
Nothing to be guilty of. I like his music unashamedly. He's a superb composer.

+1 He's an unfairly maligned composer and his music has more depth than it's given credit for IMO.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Mirror Image on October 25, 2017, 05:23:16 PM
+1 He's an unfairly maligned composer and his music has more depth than it's given credit for IMO.

+2 He’s simply remarkable. Love this man’s music!
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Gurn Blanston on October 25, 2017, 05:31:46 PM
If I still listened to post-1830 music, I would definitely go back and listen to my rather extensive Saint-Saëns collection again. I have nearly all his chamber music, and quite a lot of orchestral too. Unlike Snipps, I found his (rarely recorded) string quartets to be quite interesting, surprisingly dissonant for a composer who was normally mainly consonant. Oh well, different tastes. :)

8)
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Jo498 on October 26, 2017, 01:57:28 AM
He is underrated and famous mostly for a very odd selection of his vast oeuvre. Obviously he was extremely gifted and put out a lot of stuff, so there are quite a few works that are somewhat fluffy.

-The violin sonatas are both very good; the first is more famous (and together with Franck's and Fauré's a possible inspiration for the famous Proust reference).

- The 3rd violin concerto is also justly famous (the others are shorter pieces but also worth listening to).

-A very funny piece that sounds almost neoclassical is the sextet with trumpet
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: kyjo on October 30, 2017, 04:49:20 PM
He is underrated and famous mostly for a very odd selection of his vast oeuvre.

Totally agree - it seems strange to me that he is only known through a select few works when there are so many gems scattered throughout his output (it's a similar situation with Dvorak). Take his two cello concerti for instance - the first is nearly ubiquitous and rather overplayed, while the equally fine (if not finer) second is hardly played at all. Another work of his I think is quite underrated is his Piano Trio no. 2, which has the most magical opening and gorgeous (thought all too brief) slow movement. Also, his Cello Sonata no. 1 is a wonderful, passionate work which is hardly ever played.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Monsieur Croche on October 30, 2017, 05:37:43 PM
Listened to the String Quartet No.2 the other day. Mmm... it's quite light. I'm not sure how fond I was of it. It was definitely the shred of the ghost of the Romantic Era, a pale, non-offensive, yet somewhat bland perfection that just didn't grab me.


I'm checking out his final works, the three sonatas, for clarinet, oboe, and bassoon. Already, I found nothing much that I could bite onto in the Bassoon Sonata, amiable as it is. Perhaps I look for things in SS that just aren't there?

I did enjoy the Violin Sonata No.1 in d-minor, though... Midori?...


Aaaand, this time around I snoozed at the 'Danse Macabre', OH NOES!!...


What are your Top SS Guilty Pleasures?? (haven't listened to the Sym3 in decades, forget what it sounds like)

Here is a very fine indeed performance of the 3rd symphony.
[flash-425,350]https://www.youtube.com/v/DiqXgZVHePw[/flash]

But you have hit on something I think that those who do not care, or actual detractors, do need to know:
There is not one scrap of music -- from the fluffiest Wedding Cake, Caprice-Valse to his more/most earnest (Requiem (yes, he wrote one), Symphony no. 3) penned by Saint-Saëns that is not impeccably crafted.

Wedding Cake, Caprice-Valse
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DiqXgZVHePw
Requiem
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDJhAtt7oBA

While, as the drift of your feelings towards nearly any or all his music, "That and the fare gets you on the bus."
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: amw on October 30, 2017, 06:48:56 PM
My only problem with Saint-Saëns is that sometimes he tries to be serious and it doesn't work that well for me usually. I quite like a lot of the fluff and some of the larger works (the Piano Concerto No.5 is great for instance) but for whatever reason it's hard for me to take e.g. the Symphony No.3 or the sacred music seriously. All the chamber music I've heard is quite nice though.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Parsifal on October 30, 2017, 10:20:20 PM
I've also been listening to his Piano Concerti. I listened to the Roge/Dutoit recording of the first, and now the Ciccolini/Baudo recording of the second. In the latter work it is remarkable how the almost Bachian opening flows into a 19th century concerto. Works of very high quality, and elegance, refreshingly lacking the overwrought quality that screams "profundity" in the warhorses of the time. I'm enjoying it a lot.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Mirror Image on October 31, 2017, 07:51:09 AM
I've also been listening to his Piano Concerti. I listened to the Roge/Dutoit recording of the first, and now the Ciccolini/Baudo recording of the second. In the latter work it is remarkable how the almost Bachian opening flows into a 19th century concerto. Works of very high quality, and elegance, refreshingly lacking the overwrought quality that screams "profundity" in the warhorses of the time. I'm enjoying it a lot.

Indeed. His piano concerti are quite fine. They’re certainly much more to my tastes than Liszt’s, Tchaikovsky’s, or Brahms’ PCs, but these particular concerti do have their own merits.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Parsifal on November 01, 2017, 05:32:02 AM
Listened to the second piano concerto again. An interesting structure, where the first movement has the general form and function of a traditional concerto opening allegro, but with the somber mood and tempo of a slow middle movement. This allows the second movement to be a scherzo, followed by the expected finale. A finely crafted and moving work. Ciccolini gives a fine performance.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Maestro267 on November 03, 2017, 07:06:50 AM
I know S-S 2 preceded it by decades, but it's a similar structure in some ways to Shostakovich's 6th Symphony. Slow movt. first, then a scherzo, then an even faster finale.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns STILL TRYING
Post by: snyprrr on November 03, 2017, 04:24:47 PM
I listened to the 'Egyptian' PC... mm,... ok,... I was actually expecting just a little bit more, but, let me just say that I do not dislike CSS; this onr all the e didn't hit like I thought, after all the raves on this Page.

Maybe I need to find that Cello Concerto that'spaired with the Schumann...


...also didn't really care for the 'Carnivalof the Animals"


wow, my typings bad :(
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: snyprrr on November 03, 2017, 06:17:31 PM
If I still listened to post-1830 music, I would definitely go back and listen to my rather extensive Saint-Saëns collection again. I have nearly all his chamber music, and quite a lot of orchestral too. Unlike Snipps, I found his (rarely recorded) string quartets to be quite interesting, surprisingly dissonant for a composer who was normally mainly consonant. Oh well, different tastes. :)

8)

I'm curious as to your opinion here, based on your statement above, and our discussions in the HIP SQ arena, and such,... I feel that these SQs are like the "End of the End", almost in a 'Death in Venice kind of way... but it's hard for me to find any irony. I only listened to No.2 the other day.

Do you know where generally you found this surprising dissonance?Because I was like, whew, I thought there was gonna be at least a glimmer of dissonance but was struck by how typical everything sounded, as if no time has passed between Saint-Saens's childhood and his old maturity. I'm not saying I thought it sounded like old granny music, buuuut...... I heard no WWI echoes...


'll chk No.1 again...



WHAT ARE HIS THREE PERFECT CHAMBER WORKS?
Title: OK, I've now found the perfect music, and it was written by Saint-Saens...
Post by: snyprrr on November 06, 2017, 07:59:23 AM
Clarinet Sonata


I had commented on how I didn't find the typeof modern yearing in SS's other two Late Sonatas (oboe and bassoon), but, then when I reacquainted myself this Clarinet Sonata, from the very first phrase I knew I had arrived at the MostPerfectWork...

I mean, wait,.. where have I heard this melody before? Certainly it is more famous than this Sonata??

Anyhow, here we have the SS that I love, the one of the Cello Concerto,...


seeking some other Masterpieces now...
Title: Re: OK, I've now found the perfect music, and it was written by Saint-Saens...
Post by: kyjo on November 06, 2017, 10:49:55 AM
Anyhow, here we have the SS that I love, the one of the Cello Concerto,...

He wrote two cello concerti! :) I find the second to be very much the equal of the much better-known first.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Spineur on November 06, 2017, 01:05:28 PM
Saint Saens can be uneven
I love Samson et Dalila but have been disapointed in the recently released Proserpine.
This recent CD of orchestral songs is very good

Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: SymphonicAddict on November 06, 2017, 09:08:27 PM
Since I see this interesting thread, I would like to say something. Have you ever listened to La Foi - Tableaux symphoniques? A work virtually unknown to many.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51xhT2OoUcL._SY300_.jpg)

It's one of the most beautiful works created by this gentleman (in fact, he composed a lot of gorgeous music  ;D ). I highlight the Andantino (II mov.): it's a piece truly subtle, refined and bucolic.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: kyjo on November 06, 2017, 10:18:31 PM
Since I see this interesting thread, I would like to say something. Have you ever listened to La Foi - Tableaux symphoniques? A work virtually unknown to many.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51xhT2OoUcL._SY300_.jpg)

It's one of the most beautiful works created by this gentleman (in fact, he composed a lot of gorgeous music  ;D ). I highlight the Andantino (II mov.): it's a piece truly subtle, refined and bucolic.

Nope, I haven't heard it - thanks for bringing it to my attention!
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Christo on November 06, 2017, 10:33:53 PM
Since I see this interesting thread, I would like to say something. Have you ever listened to La Foi - Tableaux symphoniques? A work virtually unknown to many.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51xhT2OoUcL._SY300_.jpg)

It's one of the most beautiful works created by this gentleman (in fact, he composed a lot of gorgeous music  ;D ). I highlight the Andantino (II mov.): it's a piece truly subtle, refined and bucolic.
Agreed, as I agree with many here: Saint-Saëns is an uneven composer, not always inspired. But there are dozens of gems among his large oeuvre - and it's a quiet pleasure to 'discover' them for yourself. Another very late (1919) composition that I love is the Morceau de concert (in reality a concerto, or perhaps concertino) for harp and orchestra. Here in its finest performance:
https://www.youtube.com/v/2drxEhBWlW4
Title: Re: OK, I've now found the perfect music, and it was written by Saint-Saens...
Post by: Parsifal on November 07, 2017, 07:54:59 AM
Clarinet Sonata


I had commented on how I didn't find the typeof modern yearing in SS's other two Late Sonatas (oboe and bassoon), but, then when I reacquainted myself this Clarinet Sonata, from the very first phrase I knew I had arrived at the MostPerfectWork...

I mean, wait,.. where have I heard this melody before? Certainly it is more famous than this Sonata??

Anyhow, here we have the SS that I love, the one of the Cello Concerto,...


seeking some other Masterpieces now...

Revisited this sonata (at least the first movement) and it is truly a masterpiece.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: SymphonicAddict on November 07, 2017, 02:38:47 PM
Agreed, as I agree with many here: Saint-Saëns is an uneven composer, not always inspired. But there are dozens of gems among his large oeuvre - and it's a quiet pleasure to 'discover' them for yourself. Another very late (1919) composition that I love is the Morceau de concert (in reality a concerto, or perhaps concertino) for harp and orchestra. Here in its finest performance:
https://www.youtube.com/v/2drxEhBWlW4

It's correct. The Morceau de concert for harp and orchestra is one of those gems. His other concertante works for several instruments represent a delightful show of craftsmanship and beauty.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: SymphonicAddict on November 07, 2017, 02:39:47 PM
Nope, I haven't heard it - thanks for bringing it to my attention!

I hope you enjoy it!
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: pjme on November 09, 2017, 01:00:17 AM
Un petit bijou!

https://www.youtube.com/v/wDO6EnqDIhM

and (Victor Hugo!)  in a more (melo)dramatic way...

https://www.youtube.com/v/54I5d4a3QdM

Lyrics: https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/la-fianc-e-du-timbalier-the-cymbaleer-s-bride/
The timpanist becomes a "cymbaleer"!

(https://pmcdn.priceminister.com/photo/Mercier-Jacques-Saint-Saens-Le-Deluge-La-Fiancee-Du-Timbalier-La-Nuit-CD-Album-844676718_L.jpg)

And, finaly, it would be great to have at last a recording of "Le feu céleste", Saint Saëns cantata (soprano, narrator, chorus, organ & orchestra) for the 1900 Exposition Universelle. An hommage to electricity!
read the letter SS wrote to Paul Taffanel :

https://books.google.be/books?id=jm922PExav4C&pg=PT332&lpg=PT332&dq=Saint+saens+%2B+Le+feu+celeste&source=bl&ots=smOx8MEnoN&sig=GO8BDnUM3aeeAbLVGIq3T89BCbM&hl=nl&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwibvtyfqrHXAhXMzaQKHbFMCwk4ChDoAQg5MAM#v=onepage&q=Saint%20saens%20%2B%20Le%20feu%20celeste&f=false

P.



Title: Re: The Saint-Saëns Sanctuary
Post by: mjmosca on January 22, 2018, 04:34:43 AM
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.

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?

I completely agree with you that the First is a masterpiece (aren't all of the Saint-Saens Piano concertos?) and the criticism that Saint-Saens is "rarely profound" is also erroneous. It seem that weight and ponderousness is equated with "profundity" - Saint-Saens's extraordinary sense of clarity and line is thus slighted. There are 3 superb recordings of the First Piano Concerto, as part of complete sets: Collard/Previn, Roge/Dutroit, Malikova/Sanderling. Having been collecting and studying the music of Saint-Saens for over 50 years now, I find him to be a great composer- love nearly every piece of his- often struck by the suppleness of his harmonies and the subtlety of his development. All of the concerti and symphonies [5]- also not to be missed is his chamber music, the Requiem [particularly the Mercier recording] and the opera Henry VIII- we need a first rate recording of Henry VIII still. And his songs! His legacy is so vast- I could go on and on!!
 
Title: Re: The Saint-Saëns Sanctuary
Post by: kyjo on January 23, 2018, 04:50:47 AM
I completely agree with you that the First is a masterpiece (aren't all of the Saint-Saens Piano concertos?) and the criticism that Saint-Saens is "rarely profound" is also erroneous. It seem that weight and ponderousness is equated with "profundity" - Saint-Saens's extraordinary sense of clarity and line is thus slighted. There are 3 superb recordings of the First Piano Concerto, as part of complete sets: Collard/Previn, Roge/Dutroit, Malikova/Sanderling. Having been collecting and studying the music of Saint-Saens for over 50 years now, I find him to be a great composer- love nearly every piece of his- often struck by the suppleness of his harmonies and the subtlety of his development. All of the concerti and symphonies [5]- also not to be missed is his chamber music, the Requiem [particularly the Mercier recording] and the opera Henry VIII- we need a first rate recording of Henry VIII still. And his songs! His legacy is so vast- I could go on and on!!

Wholeheartedly agree with this!
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: mc ukrneal on January 23, 2018, 05:30:29 AM
Wholeheartedly agree with this!
+1 Me too!
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Mirror Image on January 23, 2018, 05:53:25 AM
I really enjoy a good bit of Saint-Saëns’ music. I love the cycle of PCs, Symphony No. 3, “Organ”, Le carnaval des animaux (which S-S only wanted to be performed privately), and Danse macabre. I need to revisit his chamber works as I have many of the Hyperion recordings. Also, the other concerti for violin and cello are in need of revisiting as well (as it’s been too long).
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Baron Scarpia on February 18, 2018, 05:54:32 PM
Listened today to Saint-Saens Piano Concerto No 3. In its form, it could be characterized as an absolutely standard 19th century piano concerto - not a work that paves a new path, but full of beautiful melodies, compelling harmonies and orchestration, and perfectly managed structure.

I listened to Ciccolini/Baudo on EMI. It is an analog recording from the mid-70's. Not the sort of recording you would use to demonstrate your stereo system, but an honest concert hall perspective which is satisfying. Ciccolini gives a non-flashy but masterful performance. Baudo is a conductor whose skill is often overlooked. He does a superb job here. He accomplishes the difficult task of keeping the trombones in control is their dramatic passages in this work.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: kyjo on February 18, 2018, 10:30:21 PM
Listened today to Saint-Saens Piano Concerto No 3. In its form, it could be characterized as an absolutely standard 19th century piano concerto - not a work that paves a new path, but full of beautiful melodies, compelling harmonies and orchestration, and perfectly managed structure.

I listened to Ciccolini/Baudo on EMI. It is an analog recording from the mid-70's. Not the sort of recording you would use to demonstrate your stereo system, but an honest concert hall perspective which is satisfying. Ciccolini gives a non-flashy but masterful performance. Baudo is a conductor whose skill is often overlooked. He does a superb job here. He accomplishes the difficult task of keeping the trombones in control is their dramatic passages in this work.

Yes, it's a great work and I like it every bit as much as the more famous 2nd and 5th concerti. The gorgeous opening theme always reminds me of the opening of Schubert's "Great" C major symphony. The slow movement is beautifully nocturnal and the finale is really rousing, with a harmonically adventurous opening.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Baron Scarpia on February 19, 2018, 08:33:27 AM
On second listen, my impression is concerned. The first movement has a very compelling theme and structure, and there are wonderful orchestral effects, such as several passages where a dramatic climax leads to the full string section playing an ostinato figure in unison. The finale is likewise compelling with a very distinctive main theme. The slow movement is the one part that doesn't quite come together for me, beautiful passage work for piano, but I don't quite grasp the trajectory of the music. Maybe it is to be understood as a sort of interlude.
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: mjmosca on October 12, 2019, 05:15:24 AM
Very happy to read your second thoughts! As in the case of other great composers, many of Saint-Saens' works demand more than one hearing to begin to grasp the quality of the work. You can spend a lifetime with Saint-Saens and he is always worthy of your attention.

As to the oft repeated criticism that he is "uneven"- there is no "even" composer. I have experienced some really boring times with Mozart even, yet no one would call Mozart uneven!
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: mjmosca on October 12, 2019, 09:37:09 AM
I really enjoy a good bit of Saint-Saëns’ music. I love the cycle of PCs, Symphony No. 3, “Organ”, Le carnaval des animaux (which S-S only wanted to be performed privately), and Danse macabre. I need to revisit his chamber works as I have many of the Hyperion recordings. Also, the other concerti for violin and cello are in need of revisiting as well (as it’s been too long).

Hello Mirror Image- just a note, the Hyperion 2 disk set of Saint-Saens' Chamber works with the Nash Ensemble has 2 very disappointing performances: those of the Piano Quartet and the Piano Quintet. In both cases, they sound like rehearsal run-throughs, as if concepts of the musicians were not fully formed; bland and colorless. Not at all up to the Nash Ensembles usual standards. There are far better performances. The Piano Quartet op 41. is very well performed by Prometheus Piano Quartet and there is a new, superb performance of the Piano Quintet along with the great String Quartet Number 1, with the Quartetto di Cremona.  best wishes for great listening!
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Roasted Swan on October 12, 2019, 11:58:32 PM
Hello Mirror Image- just a note, the Hyperion 2 disk set of Saint-Saens' Chamber works with the Nash Ensemble has 2 very disappointing performances: those of the Piano Quartet and the Piano Quintet. In both cases, they sound like rehearsal run-throughs, as if concepts of the musicians were not fully formed; bland and colorless. Not at all up to the Nash Ensembles usual standards. There are far better performances. The Piano Quartet op 41. is very well performed by Prometheus Piano Quartet and there is a new, superb performance of the Piano Quintet along with the great String Quartet Number 1, with the Quartetto di Cremona.  best wishes for great listening!

I think that part of the "problem" for Saint-Saens is that his music is actually very hard to play well - literally technically demanding.  As you allude to in your comment about the Nash Ensemble recording above.  So for players/recording companies you have the double whammy of music that will take a long time to prepare properly but does not have the USP/cache of being by an unknown composer etc.  There will be the vast bulk of CM listeners who know the name of Saint-Saens but will look no further than the Swan, Danse Macabre or the Organ Symphony. 
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: mjmosca on October 13, 2019, 05:28:51 AM
I think that part of the "problem" for Saint-Saens is that his music is actually very hard to play well - literally technically demanding.  As you allude to in your comment about the Nash Ensemble recording above.  So for players/recording companies you have the double whammy of music that will take a long time to prepare properly but does not have the USP/cache of being by an unknown composer etc.  There will be the vast bulk of CM listeners who know the name of Saint-Saens but will look no further than the Swan, Danse Macabre or the Organ Symphony.

You are so right! the technical demands are great- some years ago, I tried to follow along with the score for the Piano Quartet and got lost many times!! And the fact that Saint-Saens is not unknown, indeed he is famous, but only for a few compositions makes him less of a discovery, even though so many works are not often played. The ever increasing technical mastery as time goes on may make SS less daunting.... but of course technical mastery does not always translate into music making- that elusive goal! thank you!
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Scion7 on September 30, 2020, 03:47:56 PM
Hallowe'en approaches.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1s28gmLicc
Title: Re: Camille Saint-Saëns
Post by: Scion7 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.