The slow cello melody is accompanied by almost constant broken chord figurations on the pianos. When performed as a separate movement, not in the context of The Carnival, The Swan is frequently played with accompaniment on only one piano. This is the only movement from The Carnival of the Animals that the composer allowed to be played in public during his lifetime. He thought the remaining movements were too frivolous and would damage his reputation as a serious composer. Inspired by swans that she had seen in public parks, Anna Pavlova worked with choreographer Michel Fokine , who had read the poem, to create the famous solo ballet dance which is now closely associated with this music. However, Maya Plisetskaya re-interpreted the swan simply as elderly and stubbornly resisting the effects of aging; much like herself she performed The Swan at a gala on her 70th birthday.
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Before he was three years old he displayed perfect pitch and enjoyed picking out tunes on the piano. The music critic Harold C. From the latter he acquired a lifelong love of the music of Bach , which was then little known in France.
In addition to his musical prowess, he distinguished himself in the study of French literature, Latin and Greek, divinity, and mathematics.
His interests included philosophy, archaeology and astronomy, of which, particularly the last, he remained a talented amateur in later life. The director, Daniel Auber , had succeeded Luigi Cherubini in , and brought a more relaxed regime than that of his martinet predecessor, though the curriculum remained conservative. The instrument was adequate for church services but not for the ambitious recitals that many high-profile Parisian churches offered.
They are superior and powerful, and that is sufficient for me. But I am not, I have never been, and I shall never be of the Wagnerian religion. He scandalised some of his more austere colleagues by introducing his students to contemporary music, including that of Schumann, Liszt and Wagner. At the time I was 15 or 16, and from this time dates the almost filial attachment Many in musical circles were puzzled by his decision to enter the competition again, now that he was establishing a reputation as a soloist and composer.
He was once more unsuccessful. I confess I was sorry to vote against a man who is truly a great artist and one who is already well known, practically a celebrity. But, whatever else, one must be honest. He himself wrote, "Art is intended to create beauty and character. Feeling only comes afterwards and art can very well do without it. In fact, it is very much better off when it does.
It ran for five performances. In , he surprised many by marrying. Sung by Enrico Caruso in Problems playing this file? See media help. From the s until the end of his life he made trips to 27 countries.
His professional engagements took him most often to Germany and England; for holidays, and to avoid Parisian winters which affected his weak chest, he favoured Algiers and various places in Egypt.
On 28 July he disappeared from their hotel, and a few days later his wife received a letter from him to say that he would not be returning. They never saw each other again. They had begun to dominate the organisation and sought to abandon its "Ars Gallica" ethos of commitment to French works.
It was well received and seemed to be heading for a substantial run when the theatre burnt down within weeks of the premiere and the production was lost.
A planned visit to perform in Chicago fell through in The services are very short, and consist chiefly of listening to good music extremely well sung, for the English are excellent choristers". This remained his home for the rest of his life. He revisited London, where he was always a welcome visitor, went to Berlin, where until the First World War, he was greeted with honour, and travelled in Italy, Spain, Monaco and provincial France.
His classical instincts for form put him at odds with what seemed to him the shapelessness and structure of the musical impressionists, led by Debussy. Music is free and unlimited in its liberty of expression. There are no perfect chords, dissonant chords or false chords. All aggregations of notes are legitimate. While there, he died without warning of a heart attack on 16 December His incomparable talent for orchestration enables him to give relief to ideas which would otherwise be crude and mediocre in themselves Bach and Handel , Haydn and Mozart, must be manifest to all who are familiar with his writings.
His love for the classical giants and his sympathy with them form, so to speak, the foundation of his art. Grove observes that he makes his effects more by characterful harmony and rhythms than by extravagant scoring. In both of those areas of his craft he was normally content with the familiar. From his time at the Conservatoire he was a master of counterpoint; contrapuntal passages crop up, seemingly naturally, in many of his works. Of the works of his maturity, the First Symphony is a serious and large-scale work, in which the influence of Schumann is detectable.
The "Urbs Roma" Symphony in some ways represents a backward step, being less deftly orchestrated, and "thick and heavy" in its effect. The best known of the symphonies is the Third which, unusually, has prominent parts for piano and organ. It opens in C minor and ends in C major with a stately chorale tune. His First , in D , in conventional three-movement form, is not well known, but the Second , in G minor is one of his most popular works. The composer experimented with form in this piece, replacing the customary sonata form first movement with a more discursive structure, opening with a solemn cadenza.
The scherzo second movement and presto finale are in such contrast with the opening that the pianist Zygmunt Stojowski commented that the work "begins like Bach and ends like Offenbach". The work is known as the "Egyptian" concerto; it was written while the composer was wintering in Luxor , and incorporates a tune he heard Nile boatmen singing.
It is among the most popular concertos in the cello repertory, much favoured by Pablo Casals and later players. It is a short work, its single bar movement lasting less than a quarter of an hour. It changes from a wistful and tense opening to a swaggering main theme, described as faintly sinister by the critic Gerald Larner, who goes on, "After a multi-stopped cadenza There is a certain emotional dryness; invention is sometimes thin, but the workmanship is impeccable.
From Meyerbeer he drew the effective use of the chorus in the action of a piece;  for Henry VIII he included Tudor music he had researched in London;  in La princesse jaune he used an oriental pentatonic scale;  from Wagner he derived the use of leitmotifs , which, like Massenet, he used sparingly.
He was highly sensitive to word setting, and told the young composer Lili Boulanger that to write songs effectively musical talent was not enough: "you must study the French language in depth; it is indispensable.
Le carnaval des animaux (Saint-Saëns, Camille)
Saint-Saens: The Swan – Cello
Suite for Cello and Piano, Op.16 (Saint-Saëns, Camille)