Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Saint-Saens, refined romantic

French composer Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921) is another example of a well-known composer where the masses only have heard a few of his works. The mighty and magnificent third symphony (with organ), the symphonic poem Dance Macabre, and the Carnival des animaux - and that's about it. His ten concertos get far less playing time than they deserve, his Requiem is an almost forgotten masterpiece, and his chamber music is elegant and refined, among the best of the late romantic period. I recommend the Hyperion CD series for most of his chamber music, but for this post I have picked a Naxos recording of his beautiful and virtually unknown string quartets, composed in 1899 and 1918. Excellent playing by the Fine Arts Quartet. Very rewarding music, highly recommended.