Saint-Saëns – Danse macabre, Phaéton, La jeunesse d’Hercule, Le rouet d’Omphale

Saint-Saëns composed these pieces in short order between 1872 and 1877. In 1871 Saint-Saëns had been fighting in the French National Guard, against the rebels of the Paris Commune. He fled to London for a short while, and when he came back he found sentiments were very anti German. Maybe in the spirit of promoting French music he wrote these pieces with very classical subjects. The form of these pieces is that of the symphonic poem: an imitation of sorts, of the literary arts. Program music, where the music tries to tell a story.

The Dutch version of this record has the image of a statue by Kees Verkade. Verkade is maybe the best known Dutch sculptor, but not from any museum. Judging from the list on the wiki site, most of the statues I know in passing, and all of them I find quite impressive. Pictures of his statues are on the covers of this series of records. The recordings were already published in other countries, with different covers.

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