Camille Saint-Saëns is a memorable determine not just for his successes as a composer of choral and orchestral works, and the ceaselessly well known opera Samson et Dalila,
but in addition simply because he was once a prepared observer of the musical tradition during which he lived. A composer of colossal intelligence and erudition, Saint-Saëns used to be whilst one of many superior writers on song in his day. From Wagner, Liszt and Debussy to Milhaud and Stravinsky, Saint-Saëns was once on the middle of the elite musical and cultural fin de siècle
and early twentieth Century international. He championed Schumann and Wagner in France at a interval whilst those composers have been considered as risky subversives whose tune could be stored good clear of the impressionable scholar. but Saint-Saëns himself had no aspirations to being a innovative, and his appreciation of Wagner the composer was once tempered by means of his reservations over Wagner the thinker and dramatist, suspicious as he was once of what he known as "the Germanic preoccupation with going past reality." even if protecting Meyerbeer opposed to fees of facility or Berlioz opposed to those that puzzled his harmonic clutch, Saint-Saëns was once consistently his personal guy: in either circumstances, he claimed, it was once "not the absence of faults however the presence of virtues" that distinguishes the great composer.
Saint-Saëns's writings offer a well-argued counter-discourse to the robust modernist tune critics who rallied round Debussy and Ravel in the course of the fin de siècle. And chiefly, they reveal a brilliantly sharp and energetic mind, expressing itself via prose of a Classical purity and stability, enlivened all through with flashes of wit and, now and then, of sheer malice.
In this generously annotated quantity, popular student, professional translator and radio broadcaster Roger Nichols brings the various composer's such a lot amazing and evocative writings brilliantly to existence in English translation, many for the 1st time. Nichols has conscientiously selected those decisions for his or her intrinsic curiosity as ancient files to create a well-balanced and fascinating view of the fellow, the tune, and the age.