Program 78
"A Musical Voyage with Camille Saint-SaŽns"

MUSIC: Saint-SaŽns: "Marche Militaire FranÁaise" from Suite algťrienne, Opus 60, performed by the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo conducted by David Robertson [Valois V4688, track 9] [under the following]

Welcome to Compact Discoveries. I'm your guide Fred Flaxman. Stay with me for the next hour and I'll take you on "A Musical Voyage with Camille Saint-SaŽns."

MUSIC: fades out

Saint-SaŽns lived from 1835 until 1921. Although he was born in Paris he died in Algiers, one of the many places in North Africa which fascinated him and other French people from the time of Napoleon Bonaparte, and which influenced Saint-SaŽns' music. He wrote an Algerian suite, an Arab caprice, an African fantasy and a piano concerto which is called "The Egyptian." All of which we'll hear in the next hour.

We'll start with the piano concerto, which was his fifth and last, and which will take up half the hour. It is from 1896 and it's called "The Egyptian" mainly because of the second movement. The theme is allegedly based on a Nubian love song the composer heard on a trip down the Nile, accompanied by croaking frogs and chirping crickets.

The pianist in this EMI recording is Jean-Philippe Collard. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is conducted by Andrť Previn in a compact disc which dates from 1988.

MUSIC: Saint-SaŽns: Piano Concerto No. 5 in F Major, Op. 103 performed by Jean-Philippe Collard, piano, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Andrť Previn [EMI CDC 7 49051 2, tracks 4, 5 and 6] [28:56]

The Piano Concerto No. 5 in F Major, Opus 103 by Camille Saint-SaŽns. Jean-Philippe Collard was the soloist with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Andrť Previn. Because of the Arab-influenced melodies in the second movement, the piece is known as "The Egyptian." That's why it is included in this Compact Discoveries program which I am calling "A Musical Voyage with Camille Saint-SaŽns." I'm your guide for this journey to North Africa, Fred Flaxman.

[optional 1-minute cutaway not included in the 57:00 total timing]

Saint-SaŽns' father died a few weeks after his birth and he was brought up by his mother and grandmother. He began to learn the piano at the age of three and gave a concert at the famous Salle Pleyel in Paris when he was just ten. He took lessons in composition and organ playing and entered the Paris Conservatory in 1848. Although he won first prize for organ he failed to win the much-coveted Prix de Rome either in 1852, when fellow French composer Charles Gounod accused him of "lacking inexperience," or in 1864.

On leaving the Conservatory he took various jobs as church organist, working his way up to a post at one of the two most famous churches in Paris, the Madeleine.

After writing his third and most famous symphony, he became a frequent traveler -- way before you could earn points for doing that -- and he had a particular affection for the exotic.

Another example of this is Saint-SaŽns' Caprice Arabe for two pianos. It was written in 1894 when everything oriental was fashionable in France. The Arab influence on this piece is reflected by certain melodic figures as well as in the use of different rhythms which are superimposed on the central section of the work.

The two pianists in this recording from Disques Chamade in France are Patricia Thomas and Erik Berchot.

MUSIC: Saint-SaŽns: Caprice Arabe, Op. 96 performed by Patricia Thomas and Erik Berchot, pianists [Chamade CHCD 5631, track 4] [7:57]

Caprice Arabe, Op. 96, for two pianos by Camille Saint-SaŽns. The performers were Patricia Thomas and Erik Berchot.

We are taking "A Musical Voyage with Camille Saint-SaŽns on this hour of Compact Discoveries. I'm your guide, Fred Flaxman. First we heard the "Egyptian" Piano Concerto, Saint-SaŽns' Fifth, then the Caprice Arabe. Next let's listen to the "Africa" Fantaisie, Op. 89. Like the Fifth Piano Concerto, although on a different EMI compact disc, the performers are Jean-Philippe Collard on the piano with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Andrť Previn.

MUSIC: Saint-SaŽns: Africa Fantaisie, Op. 89 performed by Jean-Philippe Collard, piano, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Andrť Previn [EMI CDC 7 49757 2, track 7]

Saint-SaŽns' Africa Fantaisie, Op. 89 performed by Jean-Philippe Collard, piano, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Andrť Previn.

Saint-SaŽns was known for his quick wit and intemperate opinions. These were not affected by his aging. He married in 1875, but when his two young sons died, he blamed his wife's carelessness and left her, never to marry again.

If you just tuned in, we have been taking "A Musical Voyage with Camille Saint-SaŽns" on this hour of Compact Discoveries. We have time for a quick visit to Algeria, going back in time to when the country was a French colony and Saint-SaŽns a visitor. In fact he died there in 1921.

His Suite algťrienne, Opus 60, has four movements. The last has become famous independently of the others. It is called the "Marche Militaire FranÁaise." In this performance the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo is under the direction of David Robertson on a Valois compact disc.

MUSIC: Saint-SaŽns: "Marche Militaire FranÁaise" from Suite algťrienne, Opus 60, performed by the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo conducted by David Robertson [Valois V4688, track 9] [4:33]

Saint-SaŽns: "Marche Militaire FranÁaise" from his Suite algťrienne, Opus 60, was performed by the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo conducted by David Robertson.

MUSIC: excerpt from Saint-SaŽns: Africa Fantaisie, Op. 89 performed by Jean-Philippe Collard, piano, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Andrť Previn [EMI CDC 7 49757 2, track 7] [under the following]

That concludes this "Musical Voyage with Camille Saint-SaŽns." I hope you enjoyed the trip and that you're becoming a regular traveler on these Compact Discoveries. My name is Fred Flaxman and I would love to hear your comments and suggestions. You can contact me through the Compact Discoveries website: www.compactdiscoveries.com.

Compact Discoveries is a registered trademark and production of Compact Discoveries, Inc. This program is made possible in part by the members of WXEL-FM, West Palm Beach, Florida.

MUSIC: up and fade out at 57:55

WFMT Announcer: This program is distributed by the WFMT Radio Network. [5 seconds]

Program Ends at 58:00

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