Saint-Saens

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Saint-Saens

Postby Shapley » Fri May 26, 2006 10:49 am

Nicole,

Thanks for playing the Saint-Saens pieces. I think he was an outstanding composer, and I wasn't familiar with those pieces. It's great to hear something by him other than the Symphony #3 and Carnival of the Animals. (Not that they're not excellent pieces as well!)


V/R

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Postby bignaf » Fri May 26, 2006 11:15 am

and Danse Macabre...
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Postby Shapley » Fri May 26, 2006 11:29 am

Big,

In my view, they don't play Danse Macabre enough...

I guess I should request it more often. :D

V/R
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Postby bignaf » Fri May 26, 2006 11:53 am

I don't listen to B.com, I just figured they probably play it a lot. everyone does. it's perfect for radio stations. compartively easy listening, colorful, and short (one movement).
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Postby Shapley » Fri May 26, 2006 12:06 pm

bignaf wrote:I don't listen to B.com, I just figured they probably play it a lot. everyone does..


They play it, but not as often as the other two pieces, in my estimation. (I've never monitored the music log to be sure).

Based on my own listening, I think the most often played pieces by Saint Saens, in order, would be:

1. Carnival of the Animals
2. Symphony No. 3
3. Danse Macabre

I really can't think of any other of his works that have received regular play on Beethoven.com.

They may play some of his operas on the four-play feature, but I don't recall any recently. I'm not familiar with them at all, so I wouldn't know they were playing one unless I checked the music log.

V/R
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Postby Nicole Marie » Fri May 26, 2006 12:38 pm

You all are right, we really do not play enough of him. Part of the reason is we are an all request station! I do not think many people are familiar with him from the start and often will send in the requests they know... Carnival, Danse etc.

He was an outstanding composer. He was also an author and wrote several amazing books on a variety of topics. His books are no longer in print but the local college music library has copies. I was able to read them and it really is worth a read if you come across his writings.

He was also a virtuoso pianist. He made a good living from playing the piano in France. On the personal side... he was a jerk. Not very nice to women... he had mommy issues. Several good bios on him talk about his issues with his mom and grandmother who raised him. They were very caring and supportive of his love of music but he rarly returned love to them.

He also blamed the death of his child on his wife. The child died of illness, very young and the mother in no way was to blame. But while she is grieving over the passing of her child, he adds insult to injury and completely blamed her for it! Nice guy... huh!?

But besides his poor personal qualities, I think he was still a great composer.
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Postby bignaf » Fri May 26, 2006 12:45 pm

I think he was a good composer. he produced lots of very enjoyable music, but nothing that I would call great. kind of like Hindemith. it all a very polished and balanced, technically well crafted, and clever (sounds like he remained a child prodigy throughout his life).
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Postby Shapley » Fri May 26, 2006 1:16 pm

Big,

If I recall correctly, he was a brilliant mathematician, and his music reflected his love for mathematics. I believe he studied the parallels between music and mathematics in much the way Sidney Lanier studied the parallels between music and poetry. I would assume that this would result in a very 'technical' approach to musical structure.

Yet, I still find his music to be creative and unique, woman-hating SOB though he may have been. :D

V/R
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Postby bignaf » Fri May 26, 2006 1:25 pm

he was also a math prodigy as a child, and was also good with asrtonomy. I don't recall if he actually became brilliant in all these areas. but he might very well have been. he did have a techinical approach, but he didn't come up with anything new through a math/music integration. in fact, I don't really see any mathematical concepts in his music aside from those traditionally used by musicians. now Bartok, even though he wasn't a mathematician, actually created new concepts through math integration. I guess the lesson is, you need to be creative to integrate math in to music, and not necesarrily a mathematician, since you won't be using very advanced concepts anyway, since they probably can't be expressed usefully in music.
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Postby Catmando » Fri May 26, 2006 1:33 pm

I had no idea who Saint-Saens was (had never heard of him), until I came onto the BBB.

I was looking through the Top Ten lists when I came across the Top 10 Scariest compositions, for which Saint-Saens "Danse Macabre" was voted most scariest composition.

Still learning alot about classical music, everyday. Now, I see Saint-Saens' name everywhere!

I guess he's just one of many often overlooked composers.

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Postby bignaf » Fri May 26, 2006 1:42 pm

I really like one of his piano concerti, I think it's no. 3, but I'm not sure.
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Postby Shapley » Fri May 26, 2006 1:53 pm

I'm not familiar with his piano concerti. Even though I like his music, at least what I've heard of it, a lot, my music collection is rather lacking in Saint-Saens, other than the common ones. I'm sure I have at least three recordings of his 'Organ' Symphony. I have one other symphony, which I believe is on the flip side of an LP with Carnival of the Animals.

V/R
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Postby Shapley » Fri May 26, 2006 1:57 pm

Bignaf,

I guess 'brilliance' is in the ear of the beholder. :D

That being said, I would guess you are correct. A quick search through Google turns up no brilliant accomplishments in mathematics for which he has received acclaim. I think I read about him as being a 'brilliant' mathematician on an album sleeve. That isn't always the best source for accurate information on the composer's life. :D

V/R
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Postby navneeth » Fri May 26, 2006 2:04 pm

bignaf wrote:he was also a math prodigy as a child, and was also good with asrtonomy. I don't recall if he actually became brilliant in all these areas. but he might very well have been. he did have a techinical approach, but he didn't come up with anything new through a math/music integration. in fact, I don't really see any mathematical concepts in his music aside from those traditionally used by musicians. now Bartok, even though he wasn't a mathematician, actually created new concepts through math integration. I guess the lesson is, you need to be creative to integrate math in to music, and not necesarrily a mathematician, since you won't be using very advanced concepts anyway, since they probably can't be expressed usefully in music.

Can you recommend any source on the web/print on this topic i.e. music and mathematics?

The opening of Bachanale from Samson et Delilah used to be played on the local radio station years ago(I'm not sure if it was at the beginning of a programme or during breaks - like the Pastoral on B.com) . I figured that it was a composition by SS while listening to it on B.com one evening.
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Other celebrated works by CSS

Postby DavidS » Sun May 28, 2006 11:36 pm

Introduction and Rondo capriccioso, Op.28
Concerto for Cello and Orchestra in A-, Op.33
Samson & Delilah (the first opera my parents took me to at the age of 5)
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Postby GreatCarouser » Mon May 29, 2006 12:13 am

While toying with the idea of reviving 'Mo bio' occasionally I thought a particular composer might be an interesting topic....no prize, however for correctly guessing his identity...

David, Samson & Delilah with Denyce Graves singing Delilah will be part of San Diego Opera's 2007 season. It is her signature role. It follows Boris Godunov in mid-February.
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Postby shostakovich » Mon May 29, 2006 7:25 pm

bignaf wrote:he was also a math prodigy as a child, and was also good with asrtonomy. I don't recall if he actually became brilliant in all these areas. but he might very well have been. he did have a techinical approach, but he didn't come up with anything new through a math/music integration. in fact, I don't really see any mathematical concepts in his music aside from those traditionally used by musicians. now Bartok, even though he wasn't a mathematician, actually created new concepts through math integration. I guess the lesson is, you need to be creative to integrate math in to music, and not necesarrily a mathematician, since you won't be using very advanced concepts anyway, since they probably can't be expressed usefully in music.


Bach was no mathematician, but his music strikes me as mathematical. Iannis Xenakis was a mathematician who consciously involved math in his music. He was no musician (IMO).

Getting back to Saint-Saens, I love a lot of his music.
Piano Concertos 2 & 4 are pretty popular. I prefer #5 (The Egyptian).
The Bacchanale from Samson is super. I have lots of good recordings. Beecham's is my favorite.
The Danse Macabre overshadows his other poems, as Mendelssohn's Hebrides overshadows his other overtures (other than Midsummer Night's Dream, which is overrated --- IMO). Rouet d'Omphale is nice, and part of it was used as The Shadow's theme on ancient radio. Phaeton and Jeunesse d'Hercule are vigorous works. Jeunesse is hardly played anywhwere, more's the pity.
For violin, the Concerto #3 is justly popular, and Havanaise, Introduction & Rondo Capriccioso are worth getting.
A sleeper is Suite Algerienne. The popular march is a piece of crap (IMO), but the unplayed first 3 movements have exotic charm.
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Mathematics and Music

Postby Marye » Tue May 30, 2006 8:43 am

Hi Shos,

Clearly, I am mathematics impaired as I am not sure I can fully appreciate the connection between mathematics and music. What are you seeing or hearing in Bach that leads you to say his music is mathematical? What piece of Bach's is more mathematical in particular?

Hi Big,

You clearly understand music, in some cases, to be mathematical as well. Is it the technical aspects that makes it mathematical? Is a piece of music that is difficult to play more mathematical? What would be a good example of a mathematical piece?

Mary
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Postby bignaf » Tue May 30, 2006 11:08 am

Some people describe any cerebral process in music creation as mathmetical. IMO, that's very misleading. not all cerbrality is math. what I call mathematical, is music that actualy employs numbers and mathmematical concepts. Bartok has several pieces whose form is determined by the fibonacci series. I guess you could call many 12-tone pieces mathemtical. so music that is mathematical isn't necesarilly harder to play.
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Postby Marye » Tue May 30, 2006 11:11 am

I don't think I am clever enough to understand what you just wrote, but I will study it. What about Schoenberg? Is this mathematical?
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