Sainton, Charles Prosper (1861-1914) by Scholes, Robert

Charles Prosper Sainton (1861 – 1914) His father, Prosper Philippe Sainton, first visited England in 1844 and appeared as a violinist at a Royal Philharmonic Society concert conducted by Mendelssohn. In the following year he settled in London, became a professor at the Royal Academy of Music, led the Royal Phiharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Italian Opera Orchestra at Covent Garden, the Monday Popular Concerts, the Birmingham Festivals and various chamber music ensembles. In 1860 Prosper Sainton married Miss Helen Dolby the famous English contralto to whom Mendelssohn dedicated his “Six Songs Op. 57” and wrote the contralto solo part in “E1ijah” with the special idea of her singing it. Charles was born the year after they married. He did not pursue music as a career, but became an R.I. and one of the leading exponents of silver-point etching. A collection of his work is in the possession of the Royal Family at Sandringham Palace. He is known now, however, as the father of Philip Sainton, who followed his grandfather’s profession and became an important performer and composer of classical music. In the house where Prosper Sainton was living in 1855; Berlioz had dinner with Wagner some time in June of that year. At that time, Berlioz’s conducting engagement with the New Philharmonic Society at Exeter Hall coincided with that of Wagner’s with the old Philharmonic Society at Hanover Square Rooms. The two attended some of each other’s concerts and met a few times, the most celebrated occasion being that at Sainton’s, in the house pictured below:

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