|Perhaps a bit frivolous for this posting but I |
found this cartoon of Saint-Saëns conducting
his Carnival of the Animals delightful.
And the past month or so I've been getting suggestions on music - and jabs about Canadian politics, but those I ignore - from a FaceBook friend in New York City who is constantly coming up with intriguing musical selections. One morning he had me pumped to Shostakovitch's #3 and another day he suggested this rather elegiac piece by Camille Saint-Saëns .
La Muse et le Poète pour violon, violoncelle et orchestre, op. 132 is a relatively unknown, late (1909 - 1910) piece from Saint-Saëns' vast catalogue. There has been some attempt to assign instruments to the characters of the title however it appears that the name was given to the piece a time after its composition by Jacques Durand , the composer's publisher.
In 1909 at the age of 74 Saint-Saëns had just finished composing the world's first film score for a silent costume drama called La Mort du duc de Guise.* Exhausted and in need of a vacation he went to North Africa, his favourite destination. He composed this seventeen-minute, single-movement piece while relaxing in Luxor in December of the year. Originally scored as a trio for violin, cello and piano, the composer played the piano part himself at the 1910 premiere in London with the Belgian virtuoso Eugène Ysaÿe and the German cellist Joseph Hollmann. The piece was originally intended as a memorial for Mme. J-Henry Carruette. The later orchestration is a direct transcription of the piano part. Despite the difficulty of the two solo parts, the work was never intended as a virtuoso piece; Saint-Saëns himself described it as "a conversation between the two instruments instead of a debate between two virtuosos."
This particular version is taken from a project to record all twenty-eight of Saint Saëns compositions for violin and orchestra and cello and orchestra. It is a joint venture between The Queen Elizabeth Music Chapel - a music school founded in 1939 by Eugène Ysaÿe - and Zig Zag Territories. Young violinists and cellist from the school are accompanied by the Liège Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of the Viennese conductor Christian Arming.
February 26 - 1909: Kinemacolor, the first successful color motion picture process, is first shown to the general public at the Palace Theatre in London.