Saint-Saens: Extraordinary Child Prodigy and Underappreciated Composer
“He was short, and always strangely resembled a parrot: the same, sharply-curved profile; a beak like hooked nose, lively, restless, piercing eyes….He strutted like a bird and talked rapidly, precipitately, with a curiously affected lisp.”
Pierre Lalo’s amusing description does not highlight the many talents of Saint-Saens as a composer, conductor, pianist, organist, writer and musicologist. That he was also a stupendous child prodigy that should not be forgotten. Saint Saens wrote some of the most popular music in the orchestral repertory (“Danse Macabre” and “Carnival of the Animals” among them) and yet he has never become a beloved figure.
Jeffrey Engel, music historian, will detail Saint-Saen’s long life and present a number of his most tuneful and enjoyable compositions.