Camille Saint-Saens : A Life
Late in the night of December 16, 1921, Camille Saint-Sans, the patriarch of French music, died in the arms of his faithful servant. In his youth, before the Revolution of 1848, he had played in the Salons of the Tuileries for King Louis Philippe. At his death, the funeral rites were the most splendid ever accorded to a musician before or since. Composer of the opera "Samson and Delilah" as well as "Danse Macabre" and "Carnival of the Animals," Saint-San's work ranged from the traditions of Beethoven and Mozart to the innovations of the early 20th century. Yet few composers have suffered so total a disparity between acclaim in life and disparagement in death. In this, the first major biography of Saint-Sans, Brian Rees explores the character of a man whose personal life was combative, tragic, and surrounded by rumor, arguing eloquently and persuasively that the composer truly was the incarnation of French genius that he was once hailed to be.