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Camille Saint-Saens A Life by Brian Rees


Camille Saint-Saens A Life by Brian Rees

Camille Saint-Saens 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-Saens championed up-and-coming French composers, notably Faure, 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-Saens' 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 the Author

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 has been 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. He now lives in the village of Flore in Northamptonshire.

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Book Info

Publication date

21st August 2008


Brian Rees

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Faber & Faber


512 pages


Biography: arts & entertainment
Individual composers & musicians, specific bands & groups



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