Camille Saint-Saëns

1835 (Paris) – 1921 (Algiers)

Halévy taught him. His close friend Berlioz famously said that the then-young composer knew everything, but lacked inexperience. Liszt (an influence, and a lifelong friend), Gounod, Rossini and Berlioz all admired him for his gifts. Fauré was his favourite pupil: after the death of Saint-Saëns’ own two children, he acted as ‘second father’ to Fauré’s. Bizet and Doré were friends (Liszt and he played together in Doré’s house.) Saint-Saëns loved Hugo’s poetry, set it to music, and met him more than once. He helped Widor to an important position, and in Moscow improvised a ballet with Tchaikovsky (Saint-Saëns in drag.)

Camille Saint-Saëns knew…