The Romantic Legacy

late nineteenth to early twentieth century

(Classical Music Map)


I. History of Classical Music  (by John Stanley)
The great composers and their masterworks in MP3 format
Albeniz Borodin Donizetti Hindemith Prokofiev Schutz
Albinoni Brahms Dowland Janacek Puccini Scriabin
Allegri Britten Dvorak Kodaly Purcell Sibelius
Arne Bruckner Falla Leoncavallo Rachmaninov Smetana
Auber Busoni Field Liszt Rameau Strauss J.S.
Bach Byrd Gabrieli Lully Ravel Strauss R.
Barber Carissimi Gershwin Mahler Respighi Stravinsky
Bartok Charpentier Gesualdo Mendelssohn Rimsky-Korsakov Tallis
Beethoven Cherubini Glinka Meyerbeer Rossini Tchaikovsky
Bellini Chopin Gluck Monteverdi Saint-Saens Telemann
Bernstein Clementi Gounod Mozart Scarlatti Verdi
Berwald Corelli Grieg Mussorgsky Schoenberg Victoria
Berlioz Couperin Handel Pachelbel Shostakovich Villa-Lobos
Bizet Debussy Haydn Paganini Schubert Vivaldi
Boccherini Delibes Hildegard Palestrina Schumann Wagner
Orff  "Carmina Burana"
II. History of Jazz

Camille Saint-Saens



Camille Saint-Saens was born in Paris and brought up by his mother. He began music lessons early and by the age of three had already composed his first piano piece. From the age of seven he took composition lessons and soon gained a reputation in Paris as a child prodigy. In 1846, aged 11, he gave a recital of Mozart and Beethoven piano concertos; for an encore he offered to play any one of the Beethoven piano sonatas from memory.

He entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1848 and over the next five years his dazzling gifts won both the friendship and patronage of composers such as Rossini, Gounod, Liszt, and Berlioz. His mentors feared only that his chameleon-like ability to absorb information and musical styles, while in one sense an advantage, might inhibit originality of expression in his own compositions.

The 1860s were probably the most contented and stable years of Saint-Saens's life. During this time he quickly acquired a formidable reputation as a composer and a virtuoso pianist. In 1868 his Piano concerto No. 2, written m just 17 days, received warm praise from Liszt. He went on to produce a total of five concertos for piano, ranging in mood from the graceful, capricious, and lyrical, to the heroic and, in the case of No. 4 — untypically for Saint-Saens - the tragic.

At the Ecole Niedermeyer between 1861 and 1865, in Samt-Saens's only professional teaching appointment, his pupils included the composer Gabriel Faure, who became a close friend. In 1871 Saint-Saens co-founded the Societe Nationale de Musique, an institution designed to promote the works of French composers. The Societe gave important premieres of works by Debussy, Ravel, Saint-Saens himself, and many others. In 1875 he married a young woman half his age, but the union lasted less than six years, probably due in part to Saint-Saens's highly-strung temperament and the couple's frustrated desire to start a family (two children died in infancy).

The 1870s and 1880s saw the composition of some of Saint-Saens's best and most characteristic works, including the opera Samson et Dalila (1 877), the Symphony No. 3 ("The organ"), and in 1886 Le carnaval des animals (The carnival of the animals). The last consists of musical portraits of various animals — including such species as "Fossils" and "Pianists", among the more conventional animals, such as the famous "Swan" music for cello. The carnival of the animals was written as a private joke: Saint-Saens did not allow a performance during his lifetime. It is ironic that this piece more than any other has secured his fame in the present day.

Saint-Saens spent his final years travelling in Europe and the United States. On his death in 1921 he left a body of music that revealed a passion for order, clarity, and precision, as well as an always attractive - and very French - melodic charm.


Camille Saint-Saens



Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921)



Leib Levin
Introduction and Rondo Capriccoso
Choeur des Marais
Ave Verum Corpus
Calme des Nuits - op. 68 N1
Les Fleurs et les Arbres
Grand Rapids Cantata Choir
Ave Maria in B flat major
Men's Glee Club
Christmas Oratorio
Tollite Hostias





















Strauss Richard



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