Camille Saint-sa\u00ebns (1835-1921) [composer Of The Week]

Episodes

TitleFirst
Broadcast
Comments
Self-belief20181204

Donald Macleod investigates the driving force behind Saint-Saëns’ unstoppable ambition and his dogged determination to find an audience for his music.
Saint-Saëns couldn’t have done it without the support of friends and fellow-musicians and the tough love provided by his mother. Private salons which attracted the social elite and concerts promoted by music societies were important platforms but there was one sure way to get his music out there – and that was to stage his own concerts.

Tarantelle
William Bennett, flute
James Campbell, clarinet
Clifford Benson, piano

Piano Quintet in A minor Op 14 (final mvt)
Members of the Nash Ensemble

Cello Concerto No 1
Christine Walevska, cello
National Opera Orchestra of Monte-Carlo
Eliahu Inbal, conductor

Septet
Nash Ensemble

Produced by Deborah Preston for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod investigates the driving force behind Saint-Saens\u2019s unstoppable ambition.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

Storming the Operatic Battlements20181206

Donald Macleod investigates Saint-Saëns' determination to fulfil his ultimate ambition to be recognised as an operatic composer. There were plenty of obstacles along the way. His first venture into serious opera failed when the production was shelved due to the bankruptcy of the theatre director. The next had a happier outcome as Liszt agreed to premiere it at his opera house in Weimar, but Saint-Saëns had to wait 15 years before it received its first performance in Paris. Of the 13 operas Saint-Saëns composed just one has stood the test of time, though many of them would prove to be hugely successful in his lifetime and contribute to his reputation as a globally successful composer.

La Princesse Jaune: Overture
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Neeme Järvi, conductor

O Cruel Souvenir (Henry VIII)
Veronique Gens, soprano
Les Talens Lyriques
Christophe Rousset, conductor

Samson et Dalila: Act II (excerpt)
Placido Domingo, tenor (Samson)
Waltraud Meier, soprano (Dalila)
Orchestra of the Opéra Bastille
Myung-Whun Chung, conductor

Bacchanale (Samson et Dalila)
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Neeme Järvi, conductor

Proserpine: Act II (excerpt)
Frédèric Antoun, tenor (Sabatino)
Marie-Adeline Henry, soprano (Angiola)
Jean Teitgen, bass (Renzo)
Andrew Foster-Williams, baritone (Squarocca)
Flemish Radio Choir
Munich Radio Orchestra
Ulf Schirmer, conductor

Produced by Deborah Preston for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod investigates Saint-Saens's resolve to be accepted as an operatic composer.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

The French Pioneer20181203

Donald Macleod looks at the innovative ideas Saint-Saëns introduced to a Parisian public whose tastes were mostly confined to operatic spectacle. He created symphonies and concertos inspired by his passion for the German tradition of classical form, led the way in developing French chamber music, experimented with the exotic sounds he came across on his extensive travels and was the first composer in France to emulate Liszt’s symphonic poem.

Guitares et mandolines
François le Roux, baritone
Graham Johnson, piano

Havanaise
Kyung Wha Chung, violin
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Charles Dutoit, conductor

Piano Trio No 1 in F, Op 18 (1st mvt)
Florestan Trio

Piano Concerto No 2
Benjamin Grosvenor, piano
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
James Judd, conductor

Danse Macabre
Orchestre de Paris
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

Produced by Deborah Preston for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod looks at new ideas introduced by the composer to his fellow Parisians.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

The Man Behind the Music20181205

Donald Macleod looks at the playful side of Saint-Saëns’ character which he kept under wraps in public, yet amongst friends and in private correspondence he sparkled with wit. The face Saint-Saëns presented to his audiences was rather grim and gave no hint of the mischievous sense of humour which lay beneath yet is dazzlingly revealed in some of his best-loved music most notably his famous zoological suite in which he happily sends up both himself and his fellow-composers.

La Cigale et la Fourmi
François le Roux, baritone
Graham Johnson, piano

Wedding Cake Waltz
Stephen Hough, piano
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Sakari Oramo, conductor

La Coccinelle
Suzette et Suzon
Tournoiement ‘Songe d’opium’
François le Roux, baritone
Graham Johnson, piano

Six Studies for the Left Hand, Op 135 (Nos 4, 5 & 6)
Piers Lane, piano

Le Carnaval des Animaux
Louis Lortie, piano
Hélène Mercier, piano
Truls Mørk, cello
Alasdair Malloy, glass harmonica
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
Neeme Järvi, conductor

Produced by Deborah Preston for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod looks at the playful side of Saint-Saens\u2019s character.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

The Man Behind The Music20181205

Donald Macleod looks at the playful side of Saint-Saëns’ character which he kept under wraps in public, yet amongst friends and in private correspondence he sparkled with wit. The face Saint-Saëns presented to his audiences was rather grim and gave no hint of the mischievous sense of humour which lay beneath yet is dazzlingly revealed in some of his best-loved music most notably his famous zoological suite in which he happily sends up both himself and his fellow-composers.

La Cigale et la Fourmi
François le Roux, baritone
Graham Johnson, piano

Wedding Cake Waltz
Stephen Hough, piano
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Sakari Oramo, conductor

La Coccinelle
Suzette et Suzon
Tournoiement ‘Songe d’opium’
François le Roux, baritone
Graham Johnson, piano

Six Studies for the Left Hand, Op 135 (Nos 4, 5 & 6)
Piers Lane, piano

Le Carnaval des Animaux
Louis Lortie, piano
Hélène Mercier, piano
Truls Mørk, cello
Alasdair Malloy, glass harmonica
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
Neeme Järvi, conductor

Produced by Deborah Preston for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod looks at the playful side of Saint-Saens\u2019s character.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

The Reactionary20181207

Donald Macleod looks at Saint-Saëns’ critical views on emerging trends in music in the final decades of his life. The man who’d been criticised for his progressive ideas at the beginning of his career was later condemned as a reactionary for his unfashionable opinions. Saint-Saëns may have been out of step with the times but in the years leading up to his death aged 86 he was feted all over the world and continued to perform for audiences who welcomed him with open arms.

L’Assassinat du Duc de Guise (5th tableau)
Ensemble Musique Oblique

Fantaisie for violin and harp
Renaud Capuçon, cello
Marie-Pierre Langlamet, harp

Piano Concerto No 5 (1st mvt)
Louis Schwizgebel, piano
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Martyn Brabbins, conductor

Romance for flute and piano
Jeffrey Khaner, flute
Hugh Sung, piano

Organ Symphony (2nd mvt)
Olivier Latry, organ
Philadelphia Orchestra
Christoph Eschenbach, conductor

Produced by Deborah Preston for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod looks at Saint-Saens\u2019s views on emerging trends in music in his later years

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.