Camille Saint-Saens


Camille Saint-Saens Famous memorial

Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
Death 16 Dec 1921 (aged 86)
Algiers, Algiers, Algeria
Burial Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
Plot Division 13.
Memorial ID 924 View Source

Composer. He was a leading representative of French Romantic music. Unlike most 19th Century French composers, who were primarily concerned with opera, Saint-Saens worked in nearly every musical genre. His music is elegant, tuneful, and beautifully crafted, though seldom profound. By far his most popular piece is the "Carnival of the Animals" (1886), a witty suite of tonal pictures about various animals. Its most famous movements are "The Swan", with its graceful melody for solo cello, and the satirical "Pianists". Apart from its artistic merits, it has been used as an educational tool for children. Ironically, Saint-Saens wrote the suite as a private joke for friends and refused to allow its public performance during his lifetime (it was not premiered until 1922). Among his other well-known compositions are the "Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso" (1863) for vioin and orchestra, the Piano Concerto No. 2 (1868), the symphonic poem "Danse macabre" (1874), the opera "Samson and Dalila" (1877), and the Symphony No. 3 (1886), called "The Organ" for its prominent use of the instrument. Charles Camille Saint-Saens was born in Paris. As a child prodigy he was almost as legendary as Mozart, beginning piano lessons at age two. When he made his performing debut at 11, he offered to play any one of Beethoven's 32 sonatas from memory. After graduating from the Paris Conservatory in 1852, he served as organist of the Madeleine in Paris for 20 years and taught at the Ecole Niedermeyer from 1861 to 1865, where his pupils included Gabriel Faure. Rossini, Berlioz, Liszt, and Gounod all had a high opinion of him. Saint-Saens introduced the symphonic poem to France and co-founded the National Society of Music in 1871 to promote new composers. Later he produced what is arguably the first film score, for the ten-minute short "The Assassination of the Duc de Guise" (1908). But his own style remained traditional and conservative, and as musical tastes changed he grew more reactionary. By the early 1900s he had earned the facetious nickname "The Grand Old Man of French Music". He travelled extensively and often vacationed in Algiers, where he died at 86. Faure eulogized him as "the closest France has come to producing another Mozart", but today only a handful of his 300 compositions remain in the repertory.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


Camille / Saint-Saëns / Grand Croix de la Légion d’Honneur / Paris 9 octobre 1935 / Alger 16 décembre 1921


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 924
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Camille Saint-Saens (9 Oct 1835–16 Dec 1921), Find a Grave Memorial ID 924, citing Cimetière du Montparnasse, Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France ; Maintained by Find a Grave .