Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix, from "Samson et Dalila"

By: Camille Saint-Saens
For: Large mixed ensemble
page one of Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix, from "Samson et Dalila"

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Camille Saint-Saens
Year of composition
Creole Ferdinand Lemaire
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
5 minutes
Classical music
License details
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Even though Camille Saint-Sa�ns composed a dozen operas, his only work of this genre to have survived the stage is Samson et Dalila (1868-75). If not for his close and influential friendship with Liszt, the composition may never have been completed. Even though his chamber works and symphonies attracted considerable attention, more assured musical glory existed in the theater. This stimulated him enough to initiate efforts on what later became his best-known opera, Samson et Dalila.

Saint-Sa�ns first gained interest in the account of Samson and Delilah when he heard that Rameau's opera, based on Voltaire's libretto of the topic, had failed. Working with his librettist, Creole Ferdinand Lemaire, Saint-Sa�ns immediately began to work the subject into an oratorio. Under the influence of Lemaire, the composer changed directions and scored it as an opera, beginning with, for no apparent reason, the second act. Viewed as a sacrilegious transformation of biblical scripture, commercial theater managers avoided it as box-office poison. Upon hearing mention of the project, with his usual perspicacity Liszt saw the value of the work and, comfortably backed by the Grand Duke at Weimar, encouraged its completion and promised to have it performed. The outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war thwarted the timely completion of the project; thus, it required a total of eight years to finish. When a portion of the opera was heard on Good Friday 1875, in the Th��tre du Ch�telet, the reaction was quite discouraging; nevertheless, it received a full premiere in 1877 at the Grand Ducal Theatre in Weimar, just as Liszt had assured. From there it had its French premiere at the Paris Op�ra in 1892, where it was staged 500 times more prior to the composer's death, becoming comparable in success with Faust and Rigoletto.

Even though Saint-Sa�ns was considerably influenced by masters of the operas such as Wagner, Handel, Offenbach, Gounod, and Meyerbeer, none of his other operas came close to achieving the level of fame and prestige experienced by Samson et Dalila, perhaps due to the composer's lack of theatrical abilities. Attracted to the purity of music, he refused to recognize the emotional and sensual possibilities in his work. Samson et Dalila, which was actually more of a series of tableaux than an opera, had room to avoid these indulgences by nature of its biblical subject matter; however, his other works of this genre, in the eyes of critics, did not. The work is a synthesis of Wagnerian drama and French and Italian operatic forms, containing skillful structures and eloquent melodies. As one of the brightest jewels of French opera, the work is considered "a dream of antique purity and modern orchestral experimentation," which thoroughly demonstrates Saint-Sa�ns' compositional capabilities.

This arrangement is for solo Soprano and small chamber enssemble.

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Key-Stone Rag, The Cannon Ball Rag, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 7. Badinerie, Slavonic Dance, Op.72 No.2, Symphonie Fantastique - 2. Un Bal, Lullaby, O Little Town Of Bethlehem (1), Of The Father's Love Begotten, Symphony No.25 - 4. Allegro, La Damnation de Faust - Rakoczy March, Swan Lake - Dance of the Cygnets, The Blue Danube Waltzes, Le Coucou, Symphony No.25 - 2. Andante, Brandenburg Concerto No.5 - 1. Allegro, Water Music Suite No.2 in D, The Amazon Rag, Roses From The South, Pictures at an Exhibition - Promenade, Who Let The Cows Out?, We Three Kings, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 4. Bourree I and II, Birthday Minuet, 16 Songs for Children, Op.54 No.6 Legend ("When Jesus Christ Was Yet A Child"), Orchestral Suite No.3 - 4. Bourree, Semper Fidelis, King Cotton, Children's Corner, No.6 The Golliwog's Cake-Walk, A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 - Scherzo, The High School Cadets, The Blue Danube Waltzes, Habanera from "Carmen", Lohengrin - The Bridal Chorus, God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen, Song Without Words No.27 "Funeral March" Op.62 No.3, Kinderszenen, Op.15 No.7 Traumerei (Dreaming), Brandenburg Concerto No.5 - 2. Affettuoso, Brandenburg Concerto No.3 - 2. Adagio - Allegro, Souvenir d'un lieu cher, Op.42 - No.3 Melodie, The Merry Wives of Windsor - Overture, Brandenburg Concerto No.3 - 1. Allegro, We Wish You A Merry Christmas, A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 "The Wedding March", Humoresque, Op.101 No.7, Gradual, Symphony No.29 - 4. Allegro con spirito, Lullay My Liking, In Dulci Jubilo, Rosamunde - Ballet Music No.2, Auld Lang Syne, Gymnopedie No.1, Symphony No.29 - 2. Andante, Suite Bergamasque - No.3 Clair de Lune, String Serenade - 2. Waltz, A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 - Nocturne, Tales From The Vienna Woods, The Holly And The Ivy, Espana - 2. Tango, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 2. Rondeau, Wine, Women and Song, Serenade No.10 , Deck The Halls, Pavane, Op.50, Maple Leaf Rag, L'Autunno ("Autumn") - 3. Allegro, Trio No.3, L'Estate ("Summer") - 2. Adagio, Presto, Anvil Chorus, from "Il Trovatore", Marche Militaire, Op.51 No.1, The Nutcracker - Overture, Bethena - A Concert Waltz, The Washington Post March, Thais - Meditation, The Liberty Bell March, String Sonata No.1 - 2. Andante, St. Paul's Suite - 4. Finale (The Dargason), Sextet: Chi mi frena, from "Lucia di Lammermoor", Sonata "Pathetique" Op.13 - 2. Adagio cantabile, Sonata in A, KV 331 - 2. Menuetto and Trio, Concerto for Two Violins "L'estro armonico" Op.3 No.8 - Movement 1, Serenade No.10 "Gran Partita" - 3. Adagio, Marche Militaire, Op.51 No.1, La Cinquantaine, Concerto for Two Violins "L'estro armonico" Op.3 No.8 - Movement 3, Song to the Moon, from "Rusalka", Piano Sonata in A "Alla Turca" - 3. Rondo, Holberg Suite - 4. Air, O Christmas Tree, Ave Maria, Op.52 No.6, Canon in D, L'Estate ("Summer") - 3. Presto, Serenade No.10 "Gran Partita" - 6. Theme and variations, Trombone Johnsen, Piano Sonata No.14 "Moonlight" - 2. Allegretto, Orchestral Suite No.3 - 3. Gavotte I and II, Kinderszenen, Op.15 No.13 Der Dichter Spricht (The Poet Speaks), O soave fanciulla, from "La boheme", God Save The Queen, Brandenburg Concerto No.2 - 3. Allegro assai, Who Let The Cows Out? - For Sax Quartet (AATB), Policy King, Symphony No.40 - 1. Allegro molto, The Entertainer, Water Music Suite No.1 in F, Holberg Suite - 5. Rigaudon, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 3. Sarabande, Concerto in D minor for 2 Violins - 3. Allegro, Minute Waltz, Op.64 No.1, L'Inverno ("Winter") - 3. Allegro, Berceuse, Op.16, Song Without Words No.30 - Spring Song Op.62 No.6, L'Inverno ("Winter") - 1. Allegro non molto, L'Autunno ("Autumn") - 1. Allegro, The Carnival of the Animals - The Swan, Orchestral Suite No.3 - 1. Overture, Emperor Waltz, Brandenburg Concerto No.6 - 3. Allegro, Jerusalem (And Did Those Feet In Ancient Time), La Marseillaise, The Sleeping Beauty - Waltz, The Ragtime Dance, Symphony No.29 - 3. Menuetto, In The Bleak Mid-Winter, L'Inverno ("Winter") - 2. Largo, Brook Green Suite - 2. Air, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Hands Across The Sea, Un bel di vedremo, from "Madama Butterfly", Trio No.2, Artist's Life Waltz, Symphony No.25 - 3. Menuetto, Symphony No.40 - 4. Allegro assai, String Sonata No.1 - 1. Moderato, The Marriage of Figaro - Overture, La Primavera ("Spring") - 1. Allegro, Holberg Suite - 1. Prelude, Capriol Suite, Au fond du temple saint, from "The Pearl Fishers", String Sonata No.1 - 3. Allegro, Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, Concerto in D minor for 2 Violins - 1. Vivace, Praise, My Soul, The King Of Heaven, The Flight of the Bumble Bee, Holberg Suite - 3. Gavotte and Musette, Once in Royal David's City, Brandenburg Concerto No.5 - 3. Allegro, La Primavera ("Spring") - 3. Allegro: Danza pastorale, Symphony No.29 - 1. Allegro moderato, Thaxted (I vow to thee, my country), St. Paul's Suite - 1. Jig, Babes in Toyland - March of the Toys, Unto Us A Child Is Born, Trio No.4, Rosamunde - Ballet Music No.2, La Primavera ("Spring") - 2. Largo, St. Paul's Suite - 3. Intermezzo, Concerto in D minor for 2 Violins - 2. Largo ma non tanto, Silent Night, St. Paul's Suite - 2. Ostinato, O Come, All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fidelis), Serenade No.10 "Gran Partita" - 2. Menuetto; Trio 1; Trio 2, L'Autunno ("Autumn") - 2. Adagio molto, Angels We Have Heard On High, Brook Green Suite - 1. Prelude, William Tell - Overture, I Saw Three Ships, Symphony No.40 - 1. Allegro molto, Concerto for Two Violins "L'estro armonico" Op.3 No.8 - Movement 2, Brandenburg Concerto No.6 - 2. Adagio ma non tanto, O mio babbino caro, from "Gianni Schicchi", Slavonic Dance, Op.46 No.7, O come, O come, Emmanuel, Che gelida manina, from "La boheme", Ah! per sempre io ti perdei, from "I Puritani", Orchestral Suite No.2 - 1. Overture, Away In A Manger, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 5. Polonaise and Double, Solomon - Act III, Sinfonia "Arrival of the Queen of Sheba", Symphony No.40 - 2. Andante, The Coventry Carol, Water Music Suite No.3 in G, Carmen - Act 1: Prelude, Symphony No.40 - 3. Menuetto, Slavonic Dance, Op.46 No.8, Brandenburg Concerto No.2 - 1. Allegro, O Holy Night and The Barber of Seville - Overture

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