Johannes Brahms, SAINT-SAENS: Cello Sonatas Nos. 1 and 2 / Cello Suite

Amelia Raitt

By Amelia Raitt

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Camille Saint-Saëns was one of the last great composers before the modern era. Conservative to the core, his work earned him both compliments ("the French Mendelssohn") and compliments ("the greatest writer of second-rate music who ever lived"). His pieces here, however, should engender the former: the Cello Sonata No. 1 in C minor is a highly emotional one, written in the wake of his great-aunt's death (she helped raise him and reportedly introduced him to the piano). Saint-Saëns's second cello sonata came more than thirty years later (1905) and it remained one of the composer's favorite works. In a letter at the time, he wrote to his publisher that "the adagio will bring a tear to your eyes."