Psychological Perspective of Camille Saint-Saens
Matthew-Walker, Robert, Musical Opinion
Psychological Perspective of Camille Saint-Sains By Kenneth RingHardback 128pp; illustrated. ISBN 0 7734 7108 1 The Edwin Mellen Press L64.9
This is a remarkable book, a psychological study of the great French composer by a noted American Professor of Psychology which makes many original points about the character of this phenomenally gifted artist yet which offers little in terms of musical insight as to how these character traits affected his music.
The knowledgeable music-lover, on absorbing this book, will surely have little difficulty in making his own connections and what must be said in Professor Ring's favour is his immediately approachable literary style: we could be at his home, hearing him give forth on his views after dinner, yet done in such a way as to make even the least psychologically or musically interested guest hang upon his every word. This is a great communicative gift, and at first his relaxed style may cause some surprise in the minds of the more dyed-in-the-wool British academics. One may demur from some of the author's suggestions for further listening, but this is not a book for the record collector, who will have his or her own special versions. …