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The Saint-Saëns thread


josh
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Interesting how there isn't one on him already, and in fact he's hardly mentioned throughout the annals of this forum. Maybe that's a sign...

From a biographic standpoint, he seems like an interesting character.

I recently listened to his Le Carnival des Animaux (and had one of those 'a-ha, that's where it's from...' moments when I heard 'The Aquarium'). The version I heard was Dutoit, Rogé, Ortiz and the LSO:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Saint-Sa%C3%ABns-Carnival-Animals-Camille/dp/B0000041QC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426792834&sr=8-1&keywords=dutoit+le+carnival+des+animaux

Is this generally considered the best? I know there are loads of recordings that are meant to sound pretty similar.

As for these pieces of his, are these the best versions or does anyone have any other recommendations for any of them?

For the Symphony No.3 I have Levine, Preston and the BPO: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Saint-Sa%C3%ABns-Organ-Symphony-LApprenti-Sorcier/dp/B000001G85/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426792910&sr=8-1&keywords=levine+preston+symphony+no.3

Or for a more subtle take, Dutoit, Hurford and MSO: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Saint-Sa%C3%ABns-Symphony-No-3-Camille/dp/B0000041YT/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426792997&sr=8-1&keywords=dutoit+symphony+no.3

Violin Concerto No.3 - Xue-Wei/Philarmonia: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bruch-Violin-Concerto-No-1-Saint-Seans/dp/B000025RVZ/ref=sr_1_sc_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1426793137&sr=8-2-spell&keywords=xue-wei+philarmonia+violin+concerto+no+3

Piano Concertos 2 & 4 - Biret/Philarmonia: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Piano-Concertos-Nos-Loughran-Biret/dp/B0000274OG/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426793268&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=idel+biret+piano+concerto+2

or Rubinstein - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Arthur-Rubinstein-Collection-Vol-53-Franz/dp/B000031WBX/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1426793324&sr=8-2&keywords=rubinstein+piano+concerto+2+saint-saens

Violin Sonata No.1 - Xue-Wei/Lenehan: http://www.amazon.co.uk/M%C3%BAsica-Mexicana-Vol-5-Camille-Saint-Sa%C3%ABns/dp/B0000030UQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426793166&sr=8-1&keywords=xue-wei+violin+sonata+no+1

Thanks a lot,

Josh

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Thanks for those links. I should check it out. I am his fan.

Many people might not put him at the top of their list but in my opinion, he was 'tier 1' composer, ahead of many composer of his era. Repertoire has lots of breath and depth. Once so often I would play compositions and while it wasn't an emotional roller coaster music, they were very technical compositions but pleasant to listen.

Maybe it was hard to state any of his works that really stood out. Whereas you could easily name an outstanding piano concerto, symphony or sonata for Beethovan or a woodwind concerto or piano concerto for Mozart, one would struggle to say "oh the Rondo Capriccioso!" for Saint Saens. His works were quality but ultimately outshone by his contemporaries more often than not who may just simply be a one hit wonder. Like a Max Bruch.

He was the Arsenal of classical music; good enough to be near the top of an elite competition but never really close to winning.

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Saint-Saëns is one of my favourite composers... Marche Militaire Francaise... the last movement of the organ Symphony... Dance Macabre... Spartacus... the 3rd violin concerto, Havanaise (heifetz), Intro & Rondo (heifetz) and some fine chamber music too.

This cd has superlative sound quality, especially if you can play SACD: https://www.chandos.net/CD_Notes.asp?CNumber=CHSA%205104

71NQTlxvB-L._SL1200_.jpg

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Neeme-Jarvi-Conducts-Saint-Chandos/dp/B007WB5DP2

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Thanks Pete, I'll check that out... it looks like it has a good selection of his pieces on there.

Anyone else got thoughts on the best versions of the pieces in my OP? The Jarvi CD doesn't cover any of them.

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I'd go for the Jarvi too

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By the way Josh, seeing as you also live in London, I should mention that this SS disc amongst many other fine recordings are at Barbican library, one of the largest public collections of classical music for loan. Anyone can join. Recommended!

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Saint-Saëns is one of my favourite composers... Marche Militaire Francaise... the last movement of the organ Symphony... Dance Macabre... Spartacus... the 3rd violin concerto, Havanaise (heifetz), Intro & Rondo (heifetz) and some fine chamber music too.

This cd has superlative sound quality, especially if you can play SACD: https://www.chandos.net/CD_Notes.asp?CNumber=CHSA%205104

71NQTlxvB-L._SL1200_.jpg

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Neeme-Jarvi-Conducts-Saint-Chandos/dp/B007WB5DP2

Did you mean Samson and Delilah, when you said Spartacus, Pete? (Khachaturian isn't it?)

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By the way Josh, seeing as you also live in London, I should mention that this SS disc amongst many other fine recordings are at Barbican library, one of the largest public collections of classical music for loan. Anyone can join. Recommended!

Thanks, that's awesome! I'd never heard of it. Wish I'd known before I started splurging tonnes on CDs ;)

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Did you mean Samson and Delilah, when you said Spartacus, Pete? (Khachaturian isn't it?)

Yes, thank you, I did mean Samson & Delilah actually! He did write a Spartacus too

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3 SS violin concertos on the Naxos label got rave reviews - I didn't find it that interesting, but that should serve as a fine recommendation for others. :P

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Saint-Saens-Violin-Concertos-Nos-1-3/dp/B0043XCKQC/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1427103011&sr=1-1&keywords=saint+saens+violin+naxos

--- I quite like his piano concertos

Defo a 2nd (3rd?) tier composer in my book.

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Defo a 2nd (3rd?) tier composer in my book.

a bit like critics and eunuchs, saw it being done often, knew how it was done but not good at doing it himself. Beautiful orchestrator, some nice pieces but not a great thinker.

The organ symphony is my favourite- beautiful slow movement.

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Nothing wrong with being a 3rd tier (not 3rd rate, that's quite different) composer.

SS just doesn't probe the eternal verities like Bach, Beethoven or Schubert etc.

Can be very enjoyable to listen, too, though. Nothing wrong with that, imo.

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Anyone heard the Saint Saens Requiem?

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