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Iron_Giant

Anyone else think Saint-Saens' Symphony No. 3 is a paragon of organized sound?

Anyone else think Saint-Saens' Symphony No. 3 is a paragon of organized sound?  

6 members have voted

  1. 1. Anyone else think Saint-Saens' Symphony No. 3 is an amazing paragon of coordinated sound?

    • Yes, it's wonderfully magisterial
      3
    • Yes, it's achingly beautiful
      0
    • Yes, it's amazingly inspired
      2
    • Yes, it is the perfect work
      0
    • Some other opinion (not recommended)
      1


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This morning, on youtube, I stumbled across a video of Paavo Jarvi conducting it at the Proms... and was reminded just how incredible this work is. I couldn't get enough of it. And now I want to know if the rest of the world feels the same way!

 

 

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7 hours ago, Iron_Giant said:

This morning, on youtube, I stumbled across a video of Paavo Jarvi conducting it at the Proms... and was reminded just how incredible this work is. I couldn't get enough of it. And now I want to know if the rest of the world feels the same way!

 

 

 

The statements of the theme beginning at 4:35 are so great.

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It's ok.  The slow movement is lovely.  I can take or leave the rest.  Camille is one of the few Frenchmen who wasn't able to shake enough Teutonic influence off for my liking most of the time.

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Aside from writing in forms unusual to most French composers at the time (who were focusing on programmatic music) — symphonies, concerti, etc. — I don’t see how Saint-Saëns is very Teutonic. There is a (stereotypically French) lightness of touch, and clarity of orchestration always. No “thick” orchestrations which I feel are emblematic of German composers post-Beethoven (even ones as otherwise different and Brahms and Wagner).

 

Listen to the five piano concerti (any of his ten concerti for that matter) or *any* of his chamber music. Where is he Teutonic in any of that? I’ll have to relisten to his other four symphonies, but his organ symphony also doesn’t sound Teutonic at all IMO. And his operas certainly don’t!

 

Yavar

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One reason he is my favorite French composer (his protege and friend Faure is my second favorite) is his deftness in bringing French sensibilities into forms like the symphony and concerto. Makes one wish more 19th century French composers had done so. Yeah, Massenet wrote an underrated piano concerto and Gounod topped that with a couple of symphonies, but Saint-Saëns was in a league of his own. And prolifically kept writing masterpieces up until he died in the 20th century at age 86, while he was almost finished completing a series of pieces for woodwinds and piano (some of his most profound works!)

 

His Requiem is underrated too, BTW (probably overshadowed by Faure’s).

 

He is the only French composer to crack my top 5 favorites (and probably only one in the top 10).

 

And let’s not forget: he was also the first composer to write original film music.

 

Yavar

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Well it's certainly lovely for you that you feel that way.  I still hear the German influence strongly - though obviously not in every piece, it crops up enough in the outsized scale of some works, and the harmonic and dramatic turbulence which leaves me wanting the measured reservation and harmonic suppleness of others of the time.  Faure was more typically French for me with his delicate perfumed musical landscapes.  Massenet too, and Roussel maintained that sort of airy French classicism through the Debussy/Ravel period which was also delicious but in a slightly different way.  Don't mind German music at all but I always felt a kind of uneasy mixture in Saint Saens which just doesn't always work for me.

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Just now, Jurassic Shark said:

Well, Beethoven wrote film music about 100 years before the dawn of movies.

The second theme of the fourth movement of the 5th Symphony....150 years ahead of its time. 

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