Paul Cézanne and Camille Saint-Saëns may have similar-sounding last names, but they are not the same person

Next week, the Seattle Symphony Orchestra performs the Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony, but the people responsible for the symphony's radio advertisements don't realize that.

As the strains of the symphony resound in the background, the announcer proudly announces that tickets are still available for "Cézanne's Organ Symphony."

The names Cézanne and Saint-Saëns may sound similar, but I can assure you that they are not the same person. Here's a handy chart:

Cézanne Saint-Saëns
French X X
Born in 1830's X X
Master painter X  
Master composer   X
Carnival X  
The Carnival of the Animals   X
Died of pneumonia X X

This is not the first time the Seattle Symphony's radio announcer has made this substitution. I don't know whether somebody is giving him incorrect copy to read, or whether he is performing on-the-fly auto-correction. Or maybe the announcer guy asked, "How do you pronounce Saint-Saëns?" and somebody answered, "It sounds like Cézanne."

And now that I cleared everything up, let me confuse things some more:

Comments (12)
  1. Gabe says:

    Will it be accompanied by a performance of Pushkin's "Eugene, Oregon"?

  2. keith says:

    "Will it be accompanied by a performance of Pushkin's "Eugene, Oregon"?"  

    If conducted by zombie Eugene Ormandy, it would also be a Danse Macabre.  

  3. Jeff says:

    Somewhat like Toulouse-Lautrec and "No Time to Lose"?

  4. To quote Daffy Duck (who was himself paraphrasing Mark Twain)…/Bugs_and_Daffy%27s_Carnival_of_the_Animals

    All I know is that French people can spell a lot better than they can pronounce.

  5. David says:

    Cezanne and Saint-Saens absolutely do not sound similar at all.

  6. Yves says:

    Saint-Saëns is the only musician whose name I had to rename in my music folders so that my C++/Win32/STL FindDup program would not freeze the console when trying to display it…

  7. Kzinti says:

    My first language is French and they don't sound similar at all to me. MMmm.

  8. Alex Grigoriev says:

    Bonus points would have been if they confused it further with César Franck "Grand piece symphonique"

  9. NB says:

    | Paul Cézanne and Camille Saint-Saëns may have similar-sounding last names

    No they don't. (I'm french).

    Or more accurately, it would never have occured to me. This is fascinating, how our mother tongue define how we hear sounds.

    [To a native English speaker with no knowledge of French, they both begin with an "s" sound, followed by an unaccented vowel (which in English tend to blur together), followed by an s-like sound, then an "ah", then an "n". -Raymond]
  10. tin-eared says:

    And for our next concert, Vivaldi's Four Cézannes….

  11. Larry Hosken says:

    …and they both sound like "synesthesia" which also explains why visual art and orchestral music are basically the same thing. QED

Comments are closed.