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Enchanted Saint-Saëns

posted Jan 21, 2012, 10:10 AM by Steven Vaughan
Last year, I spent several months recording a new CD called Enchanted Saint-Saëns.  On it, I play piano with Christine MacDonnell playing various woodwind instruments: flute, oboe, clarinet and bass clarinet.

Born in Paris in 1835, Camille Saint-Saëns was a   composer, pianist, organist and teacher.  His best known dramatic work is the tragic opera Samson et Dalila, based on the narrative from the Old Testament's Book of Judges.  Also having a sense of humor, he composed a gallery of amusing musical portraits called Le Carnaval des Animaux, (The Carnival of The Animals) but he barred any public performance of it during his lifetime, fearing it would tarnish his image as a serious composer.  Ironically, it's become his most popular work.  His chamber music, or smaller works, shows his love for style and simplicity in form, shape and color.  Enchanted Saint-Saëns is a celebration of his contributions to the woodwind repertoire, with selections from various stages of his life.  The oboe, clarinet, and bassoon sonatas were written just prior to his death in 1921, exemplifying his matured style and taste.

This recording is unique in that one artist is performing all of the various woodwind pieces.  Christine MacDonnell graduated Loyola University New Orleans with me, then received her Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School.  A popular freelance musician and Broadway regular in NYC, she performs both locally and nationally with orchestras and chamber ensembles.  She served two US Presidents in the “President's Own” Marine Band.  Her recently released solo clarinet CD “Clarinet Rhapsody,” hailed as “beautifully played and well deserved of its title,” can be obtained from cdbaby.com.

This weekend, Christine will play both flute and bass clarinet at the 11:45 Mass.  And following Mass, you may purchase a CD if you wish and have it autographed.     Alternatively, you can download either the entire CD or any of the individual twelve tracks on cdbaby.com.
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