Who was Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns?
Saint-Saëns was a great French composer whose famous Symphony No. 3, also know as The Organ Symphony, will be featured by the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra on April 25, 2023 at 7:30 PM in Callaway Auditorium, LaGrange, GA. This LSO concert, conducted by Maestro Richard Prior, will be the orchestra’s season finale, and will end a fantastic season in a big way. Plan to attend! This concert boasts two guest artists! More on that below. TICKET LINK HERE
Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns, with a double hyphen, is another composer known simply by their last name. He was French, so the correct pronunciation of his name is [San-Sohn(ce)]. Say it as one word with a bit of an ‘s’ sound at the end.
Saint-Saëns, who was born in 1835, had perfect pitch which was discovered at the age of two. He wasted no time in studying music. By age five, he had already performed a public concert on the piano. This child prodigy went on to study the organ to the extent that his close friend, the famous composer Franz Liszt, described him as the “greatest organist in the world.” This was high praise, indeed!
Camille was not only a great musician/composer, but also a great intellect. He excelled in areas of math, geology, and botany. The study of acoustics was yet another area in which he wrote many academic articles.
Around 1886, Saint-Saëns composed his two most famous pieces, The Carnival of the Animals, and Symphony No. 3 (Organ Symphony). Symphony No. 3 was dedicated to Franz Liszt. Liszt died soon afterward. The Organ Symphony was a piece commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic society in the UK. Camille knew it was something special. Here is a quote.
‘I gave everything to it I was able to give,’ Saint-Saëns said of this work. ‘What I have accomplished here, I will never achieve again.’
In 1908, Saint-Saëns scored a film. He was the first ever to do this. It was an 18-minute long motion picture called The Assassination of the Duke of Guise. It may have been only 18-minutes long, but it was a milestone moment.
Saint-Saëns was unequalled with his piano virtuosity, and was one of the first musicians to experiment with audio recording. Technically, he is the “earliest-born” pianist ever recorded.
Camille Saint-Saëns produced a large number of compositions throughout his lifetime. However, toward the end, his style was not seen as fashionable in Paris anymore. He went on a grand tour of America, and in 1921, he died in Algiers.
The SUSTAINABILITY Concert
The SUSTAINABILITY concert, which is to take place April 25th contains performances by TWO guest artists!
Attendees will see and hear a performance of the first-place winner of the 2023 Young Artists Competition for strings combined with the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra. Sicong Chen will present Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s Violin Concerto in D Major, Op 35. Sicong is 25 years old and a native of Beijing, China. He is currently a student and Graduate Assistant at the Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University, in Columbus GA.
The second guest artist is organist, Don Papenbrock who will perform Saint-Saëns Symphony No. 3, also known as The Organ Symphony. Prepare to be amazed! You thought there was no organ in Callaway Auditorium, but you will be astounded at what you will experience on April 25th. Mr. Papenbrock, with more than 30 years of experience will combine his talent and electronic equipment with the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra to bring you a state-of-the-art performance that will be inspirational. You will hear, feel, and remember this season finale concert for a long time.