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A Village Affair and an Egyptian Fantasy

Donald Macleod focuses on Saint-Saens's final and perhaps most virtuosic piano concerto, a fantastical impression of his visit to Egypt, and his little-played ballet Javotte.

As the Dreyfus Affair rocks France, Saint-Saëns takes his leave to Egypt ? to create his last, and perhaps most virtuosic, piano concerto.

Camille Saint-Saëns reached the pinnacle of his career in 1886, when both his famous "Carnival of the Animals" and his "Organ" Symphony were first performed. He was 51 ? and yet he'd live on for a further three-and-a-half decades, well into the age of Schoenberg, Stravinsky and Poulenc. His late works have often been unfairly neglected ? seen as 'out of time' in a thrusting new century. This week, Donald Macleod explores the charming and eccentric variety of pieces Saint-Saëns left behind from the last decades of his life.

The last years of the 19th century saw intrigue and conspiracy rock French society, as the infamous Dreyfus Affair exposed prejudice and anti-Semitism at the heart of the nation's political life. But for the sixty-something Saint-Saëns, these were years of new horizons. Donald Macleod explores the composer's final piano concerto ? a fantastical impression of his visit to Egypt, and his little-played ballet "Javotte", for which Saint-Saëns drew on his love of traditional, rustic French life.

1 hour

Music Played

  • Camille Saint‐Saëns

    Aquarium - Carnival Of The Animals

    Performer: Leonid Hambro. Performer: Jascha Zayde. Orchestra: André Kostelanetz & His Orchestra. Conductor: André Kostelanetz.
    • PHILIPS: NBR6001.
    • 1.
  • Camille Saint‐Saëns

    Piano Concerto no.5 Egyptian Op103 II Andante

    Performer: Jean‐Yves Thibaudet. Orchestra: Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. Conductor: Charles Dutoit.
    • DECCA: 4758764.
    • 2.
  • Camille Saint‐Saëns

    Caprice Heroique, Op.106

    Performer: Jean-Michel Ferran. Performer: Alain Jacquon.
    • REM: REM311323.
    • 1.
  • Camille Saint‐Saëns

    IV. Allegro Non Troppo - String Quartet no.1 in E Minor, Op.112

    Ensemble: Medici Quartet.
    • KOCH: 364842.
    • 4.
  • Camille Saint‐Saëns

    Personages With Long Ears: Mules; Cuckoo In The Woods - Carnival Of The Animals

    Performer: Leonid Hambro. Performer: Jascha Zayde. Orchestra: André Kostelanetz & His Orchestra. Conductor: André Kostelanetz.
    • PHILIPS: NBR6001.
    • 1.
  • Camille Saint‐Saëns

    Violin Sonata no.2 in E Flat, Op.102: II. Scherzo Vivace

    Performer: Philippe Graffin.
    • HYPERION: CDA67100.
    • 6.
  • Camille Saint‐Saëns

    Javotte: Entry of the Villagers; Grand Pas De Deux – Dance Of The Corps De Ballet - Finale

    Orchestra: Queensland Orchestra. Conductor: Andrew Mogrelia.
    • MARCO POLO: 8223612.

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