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Born: 1835, Paris, France
Died: 1921, Algiers, Algeria
"What gives Sebastian Bach and Mozart a place apart is that these two great expressive composers never sacrificed form to expression. As high as their expression may soar, their musical form remains supreme and all-sufficient."
A child prodigy, Saint-Saëns was renowned as a virtuoso pianist of wide-ranging tastes. He was also a prolific composer, contributing to virtually every genre (including the short orchestral piece Hail! California, a souvenir of a 1915 visit to San Francisco). Perhaps his most popular piece today is The Carnival of the Animals, a witty extravaganza he tossed off while on vacation in Austria - he forbade performances of it during his lifetime, however, fearing for his reputation. His music is characterized by neo-classic clarity and balance, delivered with superb craftsmanship.
Symphony No. 3, "Organ" (1886)
E. Power Biggs, Phildelphia Orchestra,
Eugene Ormandy (Sony Classical)
Carnival of the Animals (1886)
London Sinfonietta, Charles Dutoit (Decca)