The Regal and Rollicking Camille Saint-Saëns

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Camille Saint-Saëns.

Camille Saint-Saëns had a career that lasted longer and covered more ground than most child prodigies. He started at the Paris Conservatory as a boy and grew up to write in virtually every corner of the music world. In addition to his far-ranging accomplishments as a composer, Saint-Saëns was an exceptional pianist who practiced two hours a day into his 80s and once thrilled Paris by performing all 25 Mozart piano concertos. When Marcel Proust heard him perform, he described Saint-Saëns's piano playing as "regal."

This week's episode covers both the regal and rollicking sides of Saint-Saëns's musical personality. Some of the works carry the gravitas of a late Romantic, while others show a lighter touch. As host David Dubal describes it, the music of Saint-Saëns is full of charm, euphony and perfection of design.

Program playlist (all pieces by Camille Saint-Saëns):

Camille Saint-Saens: Etude Op. 111 No. 6 in F
Jeanne-Marie Darre, piano
EMI

Concerto No. 5 Molto Allegro
Jeanne-Marie Darre, piano
EMI

Valse Mignonne
Camille Saint-Saëns, piano
archiphon

Piano Concerto No. 2 in g minor: Allegro Scherzando
Emil Gilels, piano
Vai Audio

Wedding Cake Valse Op. 76
Lucille Chung, piano
XXI

Etude en Forme De Valse Op. 526
Alfred Cortot, piano
Pearl

Etude for Left-hand Alone, Op 135, No.1: Moto Perpetuo
Joao Carlos Martins, piano
Labor

Allegro Appasionato Op. 70
Cecile Ousset, piano
EMI

Piano Concerto No. 2 in g minor: Allegro Scherzando: Presto
Emil Gilels, piano
Vai Audio