Camille Saint-Saëns

Fun Facts

  • A child prodigy, Saint-Saëns demonstrated perfect pitch at the age of two.

  • Saint-Saëns was the best organist in the world in his day.

  • In a public recital at the age of ten, Saint-Saëns offered to play any of Beethoven’s thirty-two piano sonatas for an encore.

  • An avid traveler, Saint-Saëns visited every continent except Australia and Antartica.

  • Saint-Saëns often wintered in Algeria and Egypt; he died in Algiers of an unexpected heart attack at the age of eighty-six.

  • Saint-Saëns and his wife lost both of their young sons within six weeks of each other; after these tragedies, their marriage didn't survive.

  • In 1908, Saint-Saëns became the first musician to compose a film score; the motion picture, The Assassination of the Duke of Guise, was eighteen minutes long.

  • When Saint-Saëns gave a recital at the age of eighty-six, it was noted that his playing was as vivid and precise as ever.

  • An extremely intelligent man, Saint-Saëns' interests included science, math and botany.

  • Saint-Saëns was caricatured in the press for his short stature, odd walk, and lisp.

  • Saint-Saëns enjoyed astronomy and had his own personalized telescope.

  • Saint-Saëns wrote music in every major genre.

  • Saint-Saëns was the earliest-born pianist to ever make a recording of his work.

  • The Organ Symphony by Saint-Saëns was used as the main theme in the 1995 film Babe and its sequel, Babe: Pig in the City.

  • Saint-Saëns wrote his Carnival of the Animals as a joke and didn't want any part of this lighthearted work to be associated with his name. The only part he allowed to be published before his death was the cello piece, The Swan.

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