This illustrated book contains the memories of Charles Camille Saint-Saëns, who was a French composer and performer. He began his musical career as a musical pioneer, introducing France to the symphonic poem. He had been the embodiment of artistic modernity during the 1850s and 1860s, but soon transformed himself into a crusty and somewhat bitter reactionary. Saint-Saëns the composer was widely regarded by his contemporaries and some later critics as writing music that is elegant and technically flawless, but occasionally dry, uninspired, and lacking emotion. His works have been called logical and clean, polished, professional, and never excessive. As a composer, Saint-Saëns was often criticised for his refusal to embrace romanticism and at the same time, rather paradoxically, for his adherence to the conventions of Nineteenth century musical language.