Appreciation for Saint-Saens

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Appreciation for Saint-Saens

Postby serge urtizberea » Thu Nov 30, 2000 7:58 pm

I've recently just begun to really get into the works of Camille Saint-Saens. He is a fantastic composer, and it's a shame France had neglected him for so long (only recently did the French really praise him and give his work their deserved due). <BR>S-S has a very innate sense of melody and orchestration (just like Berlioz), I find. I love to play his third symphony (1st and 4th mov'ts esp.) really loud when I can. Somehow, it seems the music demands it.<P>I have since only heard in full his second piano concerto (whose good nature and catchy melodies I adore). Does anyone else have suggestions as to what else of his work fits the style of the two pieces mentioned? I am frankly surprised at the relative lack of info or awareness of this man, given his seemingly inborn talents (perfect pitch not least among them) and fairly prodigious output.
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Re: Appreciation for Saint-Saens

Postby shostakovich » Fri Dec 01, 2000 12:28 am

Hi Serge,<BR> You struck a sympathetic chord with mention of Saint-Saens. He was an all-around intellect: pianist, organist, writer, amateur mathematician and astronomer. His accomplishment as pianist was formidable. Legend has it that he was the equal of Liszt as a sight reader, and could have carved out a concert career. Lucky for us, he didn't.<BR> Regarding the organ symphony, the only thing I can think of as similar (but not as majestic, I think) would be Jongen's Sinfonia Concertante. I remember fondly Columbia ML 5212, Ormandy's first version on LP. When it came out in 1956 it was considered by some the BEST SOUNDING RECORDING OF ANYTHING UP TO THAT TIME.<BR> Of the 5 piano concertos, #s 2 & 4 are the most played. I like the exoticism of # 5. Other popular S-S concertos are #1 for cello and #3 for violin. Continuing with violin, Havanaise and Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso are wonderful. His 4 tone poems are top drawer, with the 3rd, Danse Macabre, a gem. The Bacchanale from Samson and Delilah is, too. I find his little known overture to The Yellow Princess gorgeous. <BR> If he was not properly esteemed by the French (as far as we're concerned), it's probably because the late 19th century French audiences preferred stage works (opera, ballet). I think Berlioz suffered from this, too. I also think the French considered concert works the province of the Germans (i.e. unworthy). There's a story about Debussy(?) and a friend at a concert, and one of them said "Let's get out of here. They're beginning to develop." <BR> Truly, S-S was a classical composer in the romantic age (even living past The Rite of Spring). His clarity and balance are worthy of Mozart. Even his "minor" works, and I think of some as vacuous, are neatly crafted. I'm glad you started what might become a Saint-Saens fan club. <BR> Shos
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Re: Appreciation for Saint-Saens

Postby Michael » Mon Dec 18, 2000 8:55 pm

I remember reading somewhere that the most awesome child prodigy in the history of music was not Mozart, but Saint-Saens! Somebody said of him (in exasperation) that the only thing he lacked was "inexperience".<BR>A few years ago, he was rather "looked down upon" together with Tchaikovsky, but both these composers are very popular today, and deservedly so.<P>Michael
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Re: Appreciation for Saint-Saens

Postby Peter » Mon Dec 18, 2000 9:25 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Michael:<BR><B>I remember reading somewhere that the most awesome child prodigy in the history of music was not Mozart, but Saint-Saens! Somebody said of him (in exasperation) that the only thing he lacked was "inexperience".<BR>A few years ago, he was rather "looked down upon" together with Tchaikovsky, but both these composers are very popular today, and deservedly so.<P>Michael</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>>><P>Michael,<P>Just to enlarge the point - Saint-Saens wrote his 1st tune, aged 3 (making Mozart look like a late developer!), he could comprehend the FULL score of "Don Giovanni", aged 5, and he claimed that he could play all 32 piano sonatas by Beethoven, FROM MEMORY, aged 10. It`s enough to make you weep!!!<P>Why does no such musical talent ever seem to burst forth today? It`s enough to make you weep, some more!
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Re: Appreciation for Saint-Saens

Postby Flowerboy » Mon Dec 18, 2000 11:46 pm

As with all other composers, it takes time for the world to come to appreciate in full their works. Some develop popularity quickly, as in Mozart, Brahms and other prodigies. Others are slow to get popular, because in their time, there were other Giants to contend with who got all the attention at the time, such as Berlioz and <BR>S.S. and also remember that the career of each composer is truly unique. I think another composer who might get discovered more is (and id hope) Gustav Mahler. His 1st symphony is something mighty to behold, and so is his 2nd. I think you're right in saying that S.S. is getting more popular. Others will come also, after him, I'm guessing Stravinksy is one. Bruckner is another. Who was it that quoted: " You have no idea what it is like to have 2 Giants over your head (referring to some other composers) until you've been there." i forgot who said that.
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