Camille Saint-saëns (1835-1921)


01The Greatest Organist In The World20070709

Saint-Saëns's appointment as organist at the Madeleine church in Paris in 1857 at the age of just 22 was a prestigious one even for a former child prodigy.

Donald Macleod explores how the composer's view from the organ loft shaped his outlook and career.

Symphony in F (Urbs Roma) (2nd mvt)

Orchestre National de l'ORTF

Jean Martinon (conductor)

Christmas Oratorio (excerpts)

Ute Selbig (soprano)

Egbert Junghanns (baritone)

Jutta Zoff (harp)

Michael-Christfried Winkler (organ)

Dresdner Philharmonie

Dresdner Kreuzchor

Martin Flämig (conductor)

Symphony No 3 in C minor (Organ)

Simon Preston (organ)

Berliner Philharmoniker

James Levine (conductor).

02The Women In His Life20070710

Donald Macleod looks at Saint-Saëns's relationships with and attitudes towards women, including his adored mother and great-aunt, the twin pillars of support during his childhood, his lasting friendships, and his shortlived marriage.


Francois Le Roux (baritone)

Graham Johnson (piano)

Piano Quintet in A minor (excerpts)

The Nash Ensemble

Sonata No 1 for cello and piano

Steven Isserlis (cello)

Pascal Devoyon (piano)

Messe de Requiem (excerpt)

Francesco Cera (organ)

Coro della Radio Svizzera

Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana

Diego Fasolis (conductor)

Samson et Dalila (Act 1, Sc 6)

Dalila....Waltraud Meier (mezzo-soprano)

Old Hebrew....Samuel Ramey (bass-baritone)

Orchestre de l'Opéra-Bastille

Myung-Whun Chung (conductor)

03The Patriot20070711

Donald Macleod explores Saint-Saëns's progression from maverick, fighting for unfashionable composers and causes, to establishment figure, and looks at one of his most important legacies, the founding of the Société Nationale de Musique in 1871 to promote the new music of French composers.

Suite, Op 16 (excerpt)

Maria Kliegel (cello)

Bournemouth Sinfonietta

Jean-François Monnard (conductor)

Piano Trio No 1 in F

The Florestan Trio

Le rouet d'Omphale

Philharmonia Orchestra

Charles Dutoit (conductor)


David Guerrier (trumpet)

Renaud Capuçon (violin)

Esther Hoppe (violin)

Béatrice Muthelet (viola)

Gautier Capuçon (cello)

Frank Braley (piano)

Janne Saksala (double bass).

04The Expatriate20070712

After his first visit to Algiers in 1873, Saint-Saëns increasingly sought to escape the 'horrible North', partly for health reasons, and partly to find himself.

Donald Macleod looks at how the composer incorporated exoticism into his works.

Tournoiement (Songe d'opium)

Francois le Roux (baritone)

Graham Johnson (piano)


Nicola Benedetti (violin)

London Symphony Orchestra

Daniel Harding (conductor)

Suite algerienne (excerpts)

Jody Levitz (viola)

Swiss Italian Orchestra

Francis Travis (conductor)

Piano Concerto No 5 in F

Stephen Hough (piano)

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Sakari Oramo (conductor).

05 LASTThe Conservative20070713

In his later years Saint-Saëns resisted the revolutionary changes happening in early 20th century music, and became increasingly isolated.

Donald Macleod looks at the composer's late works and concerns.

Aux conquérants de l'air

Coro della Radio Svizzera

Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana

Diego Fasolis (conductor)

String Quartet in E minor

Quatuor Viotti

L'Assassinat du duc de Guise (excerpt)

Ensemble Musique Oblique

Fantaisie for violin and harp

Philippe Graffin (violin)

Catherine Beynon (harp).