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French Opera at the Fin de Siecle$
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Steven Huebner

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195189544

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195189544.001.0001

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Camille Saint‐SaËns, Gounod, and the Wagnerians

Camille Saint‐SaËns, Gounod, and the Wagnerians

(p.195) 11 Camille Saint‐SaËns, Gounod, and the Wagnerians
French Opera at the Fin de Siecle

Steven Huebner

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on Camille Saint-SaËns. Saint-SaËns was a master of the organ and piano and their repertories, and a gifted composer at the fin de siècle. He was involved in editorial projects for the works of Gluck and Rameau, and was an inveterate traveller who, in the course of his career, visited places as diverse as Egypt, Ceylon, California, and Argentina as either tourist or performer, or both. It is argued that his exploration of other repertories and cultures was not fired by modernist ideals of progress or critical questioning and ironic scrutiny of his own heritage and musical language, but was driven by creative curiosity within a context of overt allegiance to classical models and aesthetic principles. The construction of an antidote to Wagner also played its role in Saint-SaËns's musical peregrinations.

Keywords:   Wagner, Camille Saint-SaËns, French opera, organ, piano, modernist

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