Can anyone explain to me why we pronounce the final "s" in the name of French composer Camille Saint-Saëns? All the authoritative references agree that we should, but it seems to violate the rules of French pronunciation. Am I mistaken on the rules? Is it one of those cases where a family member simply decided it WAS TO BE SPOKEN THUS and the (mis)pronunciation became accepted?
Every time I think about this I'm reminded of my junior high orchestra teacher, who during a rehearsal of the "Carnival of the Animals" quipped, "We're going to play Saint-Saëns sans conductor!" Unfortunately, her remark went right over the heads of the roomful of twelve-year-olds who'd never studied French.