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As Heard On BACH

Saint-Saens' Birthday

October 9 is the birthdate of composer Camille Saint-Saens, born in Paris on that date in 1835.  We actually made a common mistake in writing that last sentence, though.....it's wrong to call him simply a "composer" as he was so much more.  He learned the piano at a very early age, writing his first piece for that instrument before his 4th birthday.  Saint-Saens studied not only composing but also the organ, and paid the bills, so to speak, for many years as a church organist at various Paris churches.  During our Civil War years he served as a professor of piano, and he holds the distinction of being one of the first of the major composers to write a musical score to accompany a movie.  Saint-Saens traveled extensively in his later years and that allowed him to show off another talent:  writing.  He published several books about his travels, wrote a collection of poetry and even penned a one-act stage play.  That's one very full lifetime!   Here are some interesting links related to Saint-Saens:

His biography on Wikipedia

A Saint-Saens page from across the pond (BBC)

A different angle on his life.....from a friend named Pyotr :-)

The Piano Society's Saint-Saens page

And this article wouldn't be complete without a performance of his great Symphony #3 "Organ." Myung-Whun Chung conducting the French Radio Orchestra.  The video quality isn't the best but the director goes to great length to highlight the MANY instruments....not just the organ.....that make the piece the powerhouse that it is.


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