Camille Saint-Saëns

French composer, 1835-1921

"Camille Saint-Saëns was a French composer, organist, conductor and pianist of the Romantic era. His best-known works include Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso (1863), the Second Piano Concerto (1868), the First Cello Concerto (1872), Danse macabre (1874), the opera Samson and Delilah (1877), the Third Violin Concerto (1880), the Third (""Organ"") Symphony (1886) and The Carnival of the Animals (1887). His teaching post, at the École de Musique Classique et Religieuse in Paris, was important in the development of French music: his students included Gabriel Fauré, among whose own later pupils was Maurice Ravel. Both of them were strongly influenced by Saint-Saëns, whom they revered as a genius."

Source: Wikipedia

Saint-Saëns, Camille

composer (1835-1921). 7 autograph letters signed. Paris. 8vo. 13 pp.
$ 3,730 / 3.500 € (62842)

Fine correspondence with musical and private content, written to the amateur soprano, critic and philanthropist Henriette Fuchs: “My wife, impatient to wait until the end of December, suddenly gave birth to a boy who is probably very ugly, but I find him delightful [...]” ([November 1875]). – “Liszt has been warned [..] Hurry up, he is leaving tomorrow morning. You will be lucky this afternoon [...]” (April 1886).

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Saint-Saëns, Camille

composer (1835-1921). 3 autograph letters signed. Paris. 8vo. 4 pp.
$ 1,598 / 1.500 € (62843)

To the director of the Opéra Comique in Paris Albert Carre: c’est avec plaisir qu’il accueille la proposition d’une reprise de sa Princesse Jaune, « assuré qu’elle trouvera à l’Opéra Comique une exécution dont nulle part au monde elle ne pourrait trouver l’équivalent »... Bourbon-l’Archambault 17 juillet 1918. Il adresse à un cher confrère « le dernier travail de M. SIZES, destiné à être inséré dans les Comptes-rendus »... 22 avril 1921, à M. MAILLARD : il demande deux places d’orchestre pour la prochaine représentation de Samson et Dalila. Il n’ose plus sortir de chez lui depuis son retour d’Afrique à cause de la différence de température...

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Saint-Saëns, Camille

composer (1835-1921). Autograph letter signed. Monaco. 8vo. 4 pp. With imprinted crown on the letterhead.
$ 2,664 / 2.500 € (62845)

To his friend the pianist and composer Caroline de Serres (1843-1913): BELLE LETTRE DE MONACO. Il est enchanté des nouvelles de son amie, notamment qu’elle ait joué « l’étrange Chanson napolitaine qui ressemble si peu à Funiculi-Funicula, et très-content que vous ayez entendu le Duo. Notre pauvre ami SARASATE m’avait promis de le jouer avec une harpiste de ses amis, avant de partir pour Biarritz d’où il n’est point revenu ! »... Il va déjeuner à Nice avec le Préfet et le Roi de Suède, et reviendra « bride abattue pour faire répéter mon ouverture [Ouverture de fête pour l’inauguration du Musée Océanographique de Monaco] (s’il est permis toutefois de parler de bride quand il s’agit d’automobile) ; et à partir de demain nous serons dans la période de fêtes qui dureront quatre jours ! […] On a invité, pour la représentation de gala au théâtre de Monte Carlo, 200 personnes de plus que la salle n’en peut contenir ! » Puis il doit rentrer à Paris pour La Fille du Soleil à l’Opéra.

Il a joué la veille « l’Impromptu de CHOPIN et je n’ai pas raté le petit trait de la fin ! Il raconte sa rencontre avec Louis DIEMER : « Je comprends qu’il veuille toujours jouer du piano ; il ne reprend vie que devant un clavier »... Saint-Saëns jouera à son amie « une marche de GLINKA, arrangée par LISZT, qui vous amusera. Je deviens un pianiste féroce, je ne pense plus qu’à faire des acrobaties. Il faut avouer que lorsqu’on en peut faire, c’est très amusant, et il faut bien s’amuser un peu ! Amusons nous donc, puisque nous le pouvons, et moquons nous.

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Saint-Saëns, Camille

composer (1835-1921). Autograph letter signed with two sketches in his hand. Small 4to. 4 pp.
$ 3,730 / 3.500 € (62846)

To his friend the pianist and composer Caroline de Serres (1843-1913): Il a attrapé un mauvais rhume, qu’il tente de soigner, et qui l’oblige à ne faire que ce qui est absolument indispensable : témoin le lendemain à un mariage, il n’assistera pas au banquet, « comme j’ai lâché aujourd’hui la Commission des Auteurs et le charmant dîner Bixio qui a lieu une fois par mois. Mais je ne peux pas me dispenser d’aller à la Mairie, ce qui m’ennuie car je respire difficilement, je ne voudrais pas faire comme le Roi d’Angleterre [EDWARD VII, qui meurt ce 6 mai] qui est terriblement inquiétant.

S’il meurt, voilà toute la saison par terre ; HOLLMANN qui s’occupe de son concert depuis un an et comptait y faire 20.000 f. sera forcé d’y renoncer. Et je ne jouerai pas les délicieux Concertos de MOZART. Enfin, pour m’achever, il faut que je donne Lundi matin à la copie la partition de mon Duo pr Violon et Vcelle »....

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Saint-Saëns, Camille

composer (1835-1921). Signed and inscribed portrait photograph. Paris. 320 : 257 mm (Passepartout); 225 : 155 mm (Photographie).
$ 4,795 / 4.500 € (72442)

Nice head and shoulders photograph of the composer sitting at a table „À Monsieur | Henri Woollett | C. Saint-Saens | très recomaittant“. - Henri Wollett (1864-1931) was a French composer. - Photograph by the Parisian photographer Henri Manuel (1847-1947), also signed by the photographer. Some remaints from previous mounting on the verso.

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Saint-Saens, Camille

Komponist (1835-1921). Sammlung von 12 eigenh. Briefen mit Unterschrift und einem eigenh. Brief ohne Unterschrift. Versch. Formate. 20 pp.
$ 3,197 / 3.000 € (83914)

An seinen Freund, den Komponisten Paul Dugas, ou son fils le peintre Paul Steck (1866-1924). [1887]. „Le petit chat noir sera sans doute content de savoir qu’on s’occupera de lui“. 18. Juli 1888. „Tu serais bien, bien gentil de te montrer favorable à la demande de M. Gabriel Sizes de Toulouse, qui désire jouer à Biarritz mon Concerto en sol mineur. C’est un de mes bons amis, et il a beaucoup de talent […]“ Béziers. 29 August 1899. Nachdem er eine Untersuchung durchgeführt hatte: „[…]Castelbon lui-même vous a invité […]“. [25.

September 1901]. „pour m’aider à manger un faisan qu’on vient de me donner […]“ Alger. 26. Februar 1911. „[…] C’est très délicat. Parles-en d’abord à Messager et à Brousson; car si l’on faisait n’importe quoi en dehors d’eux cela les froisserait […]“. Nicht alle waren mit den archäologischen Innovationen der Fury einverstanden, er bedauert, sie nicht gesehen zu haben: „Il faut éviter l’étrange et sortir, s’il se peut, de la banalité sans tomber dans le ridicule […]“ 19. September 1911. Er ist zurück in Paris und bereut es aufgrund der Hitze im Sommer schon: „[…] Comme je sens bien que je descends du singe ! je ne devrais jamais quitter les tropiques […]“ 4. September 1912. Empfehlung für seinen Schützling, den Maler Émile Baudoux (1850-1929): „[…] Son tableau représentant un attelage de gros chevaux, vus de face au bord de la mer ; d’une couleur un peu lourde, il est remarquablement composé et dessiné et très intéressant. Je suis dans un gros travail […]“.

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Saint-Saens, Camille

Komponist (1835-1921). Eigenhändiges musikalisches Albumblatt mit Unterschrift. ohne Ort. 8vo. 1 p.
$ 906 / 850 € (87774)

Drei Takte aus seinem Violinkonzert Nr. 1 in A-Dur, op. 20.

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Saint-Saens, Camille

Komponist (1835-1921). Eigenhändiger Brief mit Unterschrift. ohne Ort und Datum „Samedi“. 8vo. 1 p. Doppelblatt.
$ 341 / 320 € (91769)

An einen Freund wegen eines Treffen. Am Mittwoch würde er nach Toulouse fahren.

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Saint-Saëns, Camille

French composer (1835-1921). Autograph letter signed ("C. Saint- Saëns") and autograph manuscript (unsigned). Algiers. 17.01.1920. 8vo. 4pp (letter) and 13 pp. (mscpt.). With original envelope.
$ 9,058 / 8.500 € (48925/BN33036)

To Madame Charles de Gallaud. The gift of an autograph manuscript of the composer's lecture on La Fontaine's Fables replete with additions and deletions to an admiring patron. In his letter, Saint-Saëns writes in part: Since this manuscript has the honor of being desired by you, I am only too happy to offer it to you. I am giving it to you without pride, with its deletions and additions and even with the copy of the 'Fables' which I made to make up for the lack of a prompter; and experience has shown me that I did right, and that without that I would have been too brief; and I understood the absolute necessity for a prompter at the theater even for the actors most sure of their parts, despite the prodigious memory of most of them.

This attempt at a meeting was well received, but I would not make myself a lecturer, it is too late. However, God knows if I should have anything to say about music! But many of the things which I should want to say cannot be said. Bad habits in music become widespread and one would have to criticize everyone! What to do, one against all! The task is impossible. And I would become the target of too many enemies [...]" (transl. from the French original). - In his manuscript, Saint-Saëns writes that instead of playing the piano, he is giving a lecture, but not at Madame Brisson's Annals in Paris, where he would feel outclassed, but in Algiers, where he has so often taken shelter from the winter and which has saved his life several times. "And now the war is over, it is permitted to have a little amusement". The talk will not be about music, but on La Fontaine's Fables, which he has loved since childhood, but has only come to understand upon constant re-reading. He speaks of La Fontaine's facility with verse, which is deceptive and "thanks to his musical ear, the harmony and equilibrium are such that one doesn't even notice the diversity of rhythms; he leads us whenever he likes, and we follow". He continues with a discussion of La Fontaine's morality and his keen eye for nature and art. He concludes: "La Fontaine did not just know how to paint, he knew how to observe; he studied nature, and he saw what others could not see. In the seventeenth century, in the age of Descartes, animals were thought to have no intelligence. La Fontaine dared to think otherwise, even if he did use animals to illustrate people's behavior". - Saint-Saens proceeds to recite two of La Fontaine's fables in closing. An important letter and manuscript revealing the composer's great interest and his admiration of La Fontaine..

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Saint-Saëns, Camille

Komponist (1835-1921). Autograph letter signed. O. O. u. D. ("Mardi"). 1½ SS. auf Doppelblatt. 8vo.
$ 852 / 800 € (935652/BN935652)

To a "dear friend", explaining his outburst the previous day where he only wanted to defend a friend: "Mon cher ami, Je suppose que [vous] n'avez pas pu vous laisser atteindre par les [illegible] de mon explosion d'hier et je ne prendrais pas la peine de vous le dire si Durand ne m'avait paru craindre que vous m'ayez mal compris. Sachez que je suis coupable de […] défendre mes amis quand on a la prétention de les juger sans les entendre, et que je vous défendrais à l'occasion avec la même énergie. Quant à la mauvaise opinion que j'ai pu donner de mon caractère […] C'est tant pis pour moi. Tout à vous".

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Saint-Saëns, Camille

French composer (1835-1921). Autograph letter signed ("C. Saint- Saëns"). No place. 11.06.1921. 4to. 1½ pp.
$ 906 / 850 € (62653/BN45923)

To an unnamed addressee about organizing a rehearsal. - With embossed monogram; some damage to edges and punched holes in the margin; reverse with traces of another paper (removed).

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Saint-Saëns, Camille

French pianist, conductor, and composer (1835-1921). Autograph letter signed. No place or date. 8vo. 1 page.
$ 480 / 450 € (82512/BN53637)

To an acquaintance, inviting her to a premiere the following Wednesday: "Je crains de ne rien vous donner pour demain mais vous irez à la 1ère mercredi [...]".

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Saint-Saëns, Camille

French composer (1835-1921). Autograph letter signed "C SnSs". Paris. 12mo. 3 lines. In crayon.
$ 341 / 320 € (82736/BN54031)

Pneumatic post "petit bleu" to the librettist Jean-Louis Croze, informing him that he should not come to Saint-Saëns' house, as the composer was absent: "Ne venez pas je ne serai pas à la maison [...]". - The young poet Jean-Louis Croze (1865-1955) collaborated with the famous composer on at least three occasions, most importantly on Saint-Saëns' only ballett "Javotte", which premiered on 3 December 1896 at the Lyon Opera. In 1894 Saint-Saëns wrote his cantata for soprano and orchestra "Pallas Athéné", op. 98, to a poem by Croze. - Well preserved.

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Saint-Saëns, Camille

French composer, organist, conductor and pianist (1835-1921). 5 autograph letters signed, and 2 autograph correspondence cards signed. Aix-les-Bains, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Faubourg, Las Palmas, and no place. (Oblong) 8vo and oblong 12mo. Together 14½ pp. on 4 bifolia and 3 single sheets.
$ 2,664 / 2.500 € (82814/BN54134)

Amicable correspondence with the cellist and conductor Achille Kerrion (1868-1939), expressing his wish for a serious, non-international lyric theatre, suggesting for Kerrion's concerts several of his works that have not been performed for some time, including the operas "Etienne Marcel", "Le timbre d'argent", "Henry VIII", and "Ascanio", as well as instrumental works: "Ah! S'il pouvait se monter un théâtre lyrique sérieux, et pas international, ou très peu! Soupez que j'ai tout un répertoire qui dort, et qui ne demande qu'à l'éveiller: Etienne Marcel, le timbre d'argent, Henry VIII, Ascanio...

on n'aurait que l'embarras du choix [...]" (Las Palmas, 17 Jan. 1899). With his own autograph address on verso. - About a conflict with the singer Gabrielle Krauss (1842-1906), who apparently refused to let him choose a baritone, afraid that his insistence might create an awkward situation: "Mon éditeur trouve aussi que M. Krauss seule peut relever la situation de façon à me permettre de prendre le bariton. Mais y consentira-t-elle? il en doute. Je n'ai de lui demander moi-même; si cela ne lui plait pas, je la connais, mon intervention personnelle ne fera ni chaud ni froid et son refus créerait une situation ennuyante entre nous [...]" (no place or date). - About not having a metronome, encouraging Kerrion to write as he sees fit, offering to review his work if possible, scheduling his return to Paris for the following week, and sending his regards to Kerrion's sister, the singer Stéphanie Kerrion: "Je n'ai pas de métronome ici, faites à votre idée et je ratifierai s'il y a lieu. Je ne sais pas encore quand je reviendrai, ce sera dans le courant de la semaine prochaine. Merci et mille compliments ainsi qu'à Mademoiselle votre soeur [...]" (Aix-les-Bains, 27 July 1896). - The remaining letters and correspondence card concern a concert performance of his opera "Frédégonde", thanks for congratulations, the recommendation of a singer, and express his delight with Kerrion's position as director of the orchestra, emphasizing that he could not give him any hints, as Saint-Saëns is much less experienced in this area than Kerrion is. - One letter on mourning paper. Letters with traces of former mounting on verso; a few small marginal flaws; the lower left corner of one letter torn off, not affecting the text..

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Saint-Saëns, Camille

French composer (1835-1921). 5 autograph letters signed. Paris, Cairo, and n. p. 8vo and oblong 8vo. Together 10½ pp.
$ 906 / 850 € (90060/BN59511)

Interesting collection of letters spanning three decades, including a passionate plea for artistic freedom. This plea is part of an undated letter that was probably addressed to the writer and theater director Paul Ginisty. After congratulating the recipient on a representation of Corneille's Cid, Saint-Saëns writes at length about authorship and artistic ingenuity, dismissing the possibility of "machine art" and describing a "special cerebral state" during the production of a work of art that "ends forever when the work is finished".

In closing, Saint-Saëns lauds Ginisty's Théâtre de l'Odéon as a "theater of art" and pleas with the recipient to "preserve this character well", reminding him that there is only one way to achieve this: "liberty" as "art doesn't live in captivity". Paul Ginisty, identified as the recipient in a collector's note, was director of the Odéon from 1896-1906. Camille Saint-Saëns' Déjanire had its Paris premiere at the Odéon in 1898. - The earliest letter in the collection was written to thank an unnamed friend and collaborator for his devotion: "Vous êtes toujours le plus dévoué et le plus délicieux des amis. Merci à tous mes interprètes et bien des amitiés à mes vieux copains [...]" (Paris, 16 August 1892). - On 16 February 1903 Saint-Saëns wrote from Cairo to an unnamed impresario in Aix, reporting that the mezzosoprano Charlotte Wyns had a "truly extraordinary success in Alexandria in Proserpine" and suggesting that she and the tenor Edmond Clément should sing in Proserpine in Aix, where he would join the rehearsals. - In a charming letter from 28 June 1913, the maestro thanks a young singer for her letter and for remembering him, asserting that he hasn't forgotten anything "of the charming woman, the artist" who he would have "wanted so much to entrust the role of Phryné" with. Since she "doesn't scorn the company of an old bearded man" like him, Saint-Saëns promises that he will contact her once he has more time. - Finally, an undated letter was to inform the recipient, probably a young singer, that he didn't approve of the plan of a "Marquise that all of Paris knows" to have her play in a comedy in his style: "Une marquise que tout Paris connaît m'écrit qu'elle vous a parlé de vous faire jouer dans son salon une comédie de ma façon ; l'a-t-elle fait ou a -t-elle en seulement l'intention de la faire, je ne sais, mais je tiens à ce que vous sachiez que je ne suis pas bien dans une telle démarche." - The letter from Cairo on mourning paper. The letter from 1913 with embossed letterhead "Rue de Courcelles, 83bis". - Occasional browning and minimally stained. The letter from Cairo with deep tears to the folds, partly affecting the text. The letter dated 16 August 1982 with two holes partly affecting the text and traces of former mounting..

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Saint-Saëns, Camille

French composer (1835-1921). Autograph letter signed. N. p. 8vo. 4 pp. on bifolium.
$ 906 / 850 € (91628/BN60949)

Highly interesting letter to a close friend and collaborator, probably Pauline Viardot, written ahead of either the Rouen or, more likely, the Paris premiere of "Samson and Delilah". Saint-Saëns first apologizes because the recipient did not get a box for the premiere despite his inistence, and then announces the completion of the last parts of the scenography that exceeded "the splendors of Weimar". However, Saint-Saëns remarks that "without Weimar and without Croissy, Delilah would perhaps still be an impossible or legendary opera, doomed to the cartons for eternity", and that "without that damned war" the recipient "would have created it in Weimar".

In closing, he condems cynical militarism, specifically mentioning the famous Prussian field marshal and strategist Helmuth von Moltke, lamenting that "ideas of this cruel way of Moltke who finds that peace is a bad dream" are "breaking" him. - Saint-Saëns had started composing "Samson and Delilah" in 1867, originally conceiving it as an oratory. The librettist Ferdinand Lemaire convinced him to change to the operatic form by 1868, although some of the choir scenes in the finished work are reminiscent of the original conception. From this time, Saint-Saëns envisaged the role of Delilah to be created by the mezzosoprano Pauline Viardot. When the now world-famous duet of Samson and Delilah was performed at a soirée in 1868, it was received coldly, and Saint-Saëns decided to abandon the project. Later that year, during a visit to Weimar, Franz Liszt convinced him to continue, offering a premiere at Weimar, but the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71 forced the composer to halt the project yet again. After an inspiring visit to Algeria in 1874, Saint-Saëns decided to finish "Samson and Delilah" after all, and already in August of that year, the second act was performed in concert at Croissy near Paris, with the composer at the piano. The reception of the composition in France remained indifferent, and Saint-Saëns decided to have the premiere in Weimar after all in January 1876. At this point, Pauline Viardot considered herself too old to create the role of Delilah and ceded it to Auguste von Müller. Despite the success of the Weimar premiere, another 14 years would pass until the first premiere of the opera in France, at the Théâtre des Arts in Rouen on 3 March 1890. Finally, on 31 October 1892, the Paris premiere at the Théâtre Lyrique de l’Eden followed. Already in November of that year, the Paris Opera premiered "Samson and Delilah", and the opera found its lasting place in the repertoires of the world's leading houses. - In view of this history, it is most likely that Camille Saint-Saëns wrote the letter at hand to Pauline Viardot ahead of the Paris premiere of "Samson and Delilah". - On stationery with blindstamped monogram "B. D." and mourning border. Minor tears and traces of former restoration..

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