Camille Saint-Saëns

Saint-Saëns circa 1880

Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns (;, . Although French-speaking musicians and intellectuals often still use the traditional pronunciation without S at the end (), the pronunciation with S is now very common in French, even among radio announcers. Saint-Saëns himself wanted his name to be pronounced like that of the town Saint-Saëns, which was pronounced without S at the end until about 1940–1950 in accordance with the spelling without S that was in use until about 1840–1860, as explained by Claude Fournier in his history of the town. The diaeresis on the e dates from a time when the e was not silent, but the diaeresis no longer affects the pronunciation of the name(s) because the e is silent, as in the name Madame de Staël, for example.|group=n}} 9 October 183516 December 1921) was a French composer, organist, conductor and pianist of the Romantic era. His best-known works include Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso (1863), the Second Piano Concerto (1868), the First Cello Concerto (1872), ''Danse macabre'' (1874), the opera ''Samson and Delilah'' (1877), the Third Violin Concerto (1880), the Third ("Organ") Symphony (1886) and ''The Carnival of the Animals'' (1886).

Saint-Saëns was a musical prodigy; he made his concert debut at the age of ten. After studying at the Paris Conservatoire he followed a conventional career as a church organist, first at Saint-Merri, Paris and, from 1858, La Madeleine, the official church of the French Empire. After leaving the post twenty years later, he was a successful freelance pianist and composer, in demand in Europe and the Americas.

As a young man, Saint-Saëns was enthusiastic for the most modern music of the day, particularly that of Schumann, Liszt and Wagner, although his own compositions were generally within a conventional classical tradition. He was a scholar of musical history, and remained committed to the structures worked out by earlier French composers. This brought him into conflict in his later years with composers of the impressionist and dodecaphonic schools of music; although there were neoclassical elements in his music, foreshadowing works by Stravinsky and Les Six, he was often regarded as a reactionary in the decades around the time of his death.

Saint-Saëns held only one teaching post, at the École de Musique Classique et Religieuse in Paris, and remained there for less than five years. It was nevertheless important in the development of French music: his students included Gabriel Fauré, among whose own later pupils was Maurice Ravel. Both of them were strongly influenced by Saint-Saëns, whom they revered as a genius. Provided by Wikipedia
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by Prod'Homme, J.-G.
Genève : Minkoff, 1973.
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by Saint-Saëns, Camille, 1835-1921 .
[Madrid] : Fundación del Teatro Lírico : Teatro Real, 1999.
Collection: Díez del Corral
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