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

Raymond Chen

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:


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