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Donald Macleod looks at the playful side of Saint-Saens’s character, which reveals itself in some of his most popular and enduring music.

Donald Macleod looks at the playful side of Saint-Saëns’ character which he kept under wraps in public, yet amongst friends and in private correspondence he sparkled with wit. The face Saint-Saëns presented to his audiences was rather grim and gave no hint of the mischievous sense of humour which lay beneath yet is dazzlingly revealed in some of his best-loved music most notably his famous zoological suite in which he happily sends up both himself and his fellow-composers.

La Cigale et la Fourmi
François le Roux, baritone
Graham Johnson, piano

Wedding Cake Waltz
Stephen Hough, piano
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Sakari Oramo, conductor

La Coccinelle
Suzette et Suzon
Tournoiement ‘Songe d’opium’
François le Roux, baritone
Graham Johnson, piano

Six Studies for the Left Hand, Op 135 (Nos 4, 5 & 6)
Piers Lane, piano

Le Carnaval des Animaux
Louis Lortie, piano
Hélène Mercier, piano
Truls Mørk, cello
Alasdair Malloy, glass harmonica
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
Neeme Järvi, conductor

Produced by Deborah Preston for BBC Wales

21 days left to listen

59 minutes

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