Camille Saint-Saens: On Music and Musicians by Roger Nichols

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By Roger Nichols

Camille Saint-Saëns is a memorable determine not just for his successes as a composer of choral and orchestral works, and the perpetually well known opera Samson et Dalila, but in addition simply because he used to be a prepared observer of the musical tradition during which he lived. A composer of enormous intelligence and erudition, Saint-Saëns was once whilst one of many preferable writers on track in his day. From Wagner, Liszt and Debussy to Milhaud and Stravinsky, Saint-Saëns was once on the heart of the elite musical and cultural fin de siècle and early twentieth Century international. He championed Schumann and Wagner in France at a interval whilst those composers have been considered as harmful subversives whose tune will be stored good clear of the impressionable pupil. but Saint-Saëns himself had no aspirations to being a innovative, and his appreciation of Wagner the composer used to be tempered by way of his reservations over Wagner the thinker and dramatist, suspicious as he used to be of what he known as "the Germanic preoccupation with going past reality." even if protecting Meyerbeer opposed to fees of facility or Berlioz opposed to those that puzzled his harmonic take hold of, Saint-Saëns used to be consistently his personal guy: in either circumstances, he claimed, it was once "not the absence of faults however the presence of virtues" that distinguishes the great composer.

Saint-Saëns's writings offer a well-argued counter-discourse to the powerful modernist tune critics who rallied round Debussy and Ravel throughout the fin de siècle. And especially, they reveal a brilliantly sharp and energetic mind, expressing itself via prose of a Classical purity and stability, enlivened all through with flashes of wit and, every now and then, of sheer malice.

In this generously annotated quantity, popular student, professional translator and radio broadcaster Roger Nichols brings a number of the composer's such a lot awesome and evocative writings brilliantly to lifestyles in English translation, many for the 1st time. Nichols has conscientiously selected those choices for his or her intrinsic curiosity as ancient files to create a well-balanced and fascinating view of the guy, the tune, and the age.

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