Camille Saint-Saëns

Brian Rees
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ISBN 9780571243129 Format Paperback
Published 21/08/2008 Length 512 pages

About Book

Camille Saint-Saëns was a child prodigy who grew to be acclaimed in his lifetime as the incarnation of French genius: a virtuoso pianist, also declared by Liszt to be the world's greatest organist. His best-known work was the witty Carnival of the Animals, but no less remarkable were the opera Samson et Delila and the Organ Symphony, while the Danse Macabre, Piano Concerto no. 2 and Cello Concerto no. 1 remain much loved.

Saint-Saëns championed up-and-coming French composers, notably Fauré, and played a unique part in transforming his country's musical taste. His personal life was dramatic: a boy during the Revolution of 1848, he served as a National Guard in the War of 1870, eventually becoming something of an icon of the Third Republic.

'Lucid and thorough... Adroitly balancing varying opinions about Saint-Saëns' life and work, Rees presents an even-handed assessment of his achievements, examining the music in detail and demonstrating that it is imbued with individuality.' Publishers Weekly

  • About Brian Rees

    Brian Rees was born in Sydney, Australia, but educated at the Bede Grammar School, Sunderland. He was a Scholar of Trinity College, Cambridge, and as a History Master at Eton College, he collaborated with the satirist, the late John Wells, on a musical version of Aristophanes' Birds. He was Headmaster of three public schools: Merchant Taylors', Charterhouse, and Rugby, and is the biographer of Sir Edward German and editor of the papers of Sir Robert Birley.

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