Once described as the French Felix
Mendelssohn, Saint-Saëns was a talented and precocious
child, with interests by no means confined to music. He made an
early impression as a pianist. Although his reputations died slowly
with the changes in the taste of the public, Saint-Saëns was
still a renowned composer during his time.
Camille Saint-Saëns was born in 1835. He was a child prodigy. He composed his first piece by the age of three. He took composition lessons at the age of seven and he performed Wolfgang A. Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven at the age of eleven. In 1848 he entered the Paris Conservatoire. He had an uncanny ability to absorb the information and musical styles of his mentors. Here he grew close with Franz Liszt, Hector Berlioz, Gioacchino Rossini and Charles Gounod.
During the 1960's, Saint-Saëns produced, arguably, his best music. He composed a few piano concertos and they ranged from graceful to tragic in mood. Between 1861 and 1865, Saint-Saëns also became the mentor of Gabriel Fauré. He mentored him into becoming the next premier composer for the French in the early 20th century. During the 1870's, Saint Saëns produced his Symphony no. 3, nicknamed "The Organ." He also contrived Carnival of the Animals. In the present day, that piece remains a favorite because of its portrayal of various animals and its playful texture.
Saint-Saëns spent his final years traveling in Europe and
the United States. He died in 1921, and he left us with a great
amount of music that portrayed his spirit to us. He had a great
melodic charm that would define him for the rest of his era.
His Famous Compositions
Saint-Saens most notable pieces include the aforementioned
pieces as well as Piano Concerto no 2, Cello Concerto no. 1, which
has become part of the standard repertoire for any cellist, and
Samson and Dalila. His important chamber pieces include Piano Trio in F Major,
Op.18, and his Piano Quartet in B-flat Major,
Other links of interest: