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Camille Saint-Saëns

Camille Saint-Saëns

Country of origin: France
Birthday: October 9, 1835
Date of death: December 16, 1921

About Camille Saint-Saëns

Camille Saint-Saëns, French composer, gave demanding piano concerts at the age of ten and from 1848 studied organ with François Benoist (*1794, 1878) and composition with Fromental Halévy at the Paris Conservatoire. He worked as an organist at the churches of Saint-Merry (since 1853) and Madeleine (since 1857) and achieved great renown as an interpreter and improviser on the organ. From 1861 to 1865 he taught at the École Niedermeyer where Gabriel Fauré was one of his pupils. In 1871 he founded the Societé Nationale de Musique with Romain Bussine (*1830, 1899) to foster primarily young French composers.'

Saint-Saëns' music has great variety and variability while being essentially orientated towards Viennese Classicism and German Romanticism. In France, Saint-Saëns conveyed a deep understanding of the works by Bach, Handel and Mozart, but also of those by Schumann and Wagner. His symphonic poems are proof of the decisive influence of Liszt and the examination of new means of expression and genre tendencies. In the 1870s and 1880s, Saint-Saëns created compositions, not only in the field of the opera (which mainly influenced the musical life in Paris), but also in the fields of symphonic, concert and chamber music, which had a determining influence on the development of French music in the late 19th century.

Saint-Saëns wrote 13 operas, including »Samson et Dalila« (1877), »Étienne Marcel« (1879), »Henri VIII« (1883), »Ascanio« (1890); five symphonies (Symphony No. 3 in C minor, 1886; with organ); four symphonic poems (e.g. »La danse macabre«, 1875); violin, violoncello and piano concertos, chamber music, organ and piano music (e.g. »Le carnaval des animaux« [The Carnival of the Animals], and from it »The Swan« 1886); »Messe solennelle« (1856), the oratorio »Le déluge« (1875) and a requiem (1878).