Both works included in this volume – “Septuor” Op.65 and “Le Carnaval des animaux” – lead a double life between chamber music and ensemble/orchestral music. Saint-Saëns wrote them originally as chamber music with only one musician to each string part, but already at the premiere of the “Septuor” the string quartet was doubled – much to the composer’s delight. The new critical edition brings this rarely used instrumentation back into memory.
Saint-Saëns seems to have had reservations towards his “Carnival of the Animals” which is generally viewed as one of his most ingenious compositions and certainly his most famous one, countlessly cited, arranged and transcribed. In a codicil to his will, he stipulated that the complete full score could only be published after his death. He excluded solely “Le Cygne”. Apparently he feared that the audience would judge his oeuvre by the “Carnival” and disregard his more serious works.
This volume, published as a part of the series “Oeuvres instrumentales complètes”, presents the fourteen individual movements based on the few authentic sources. For the first time, the editor identifies all musical citations which are used as parodies or travesties and includes them as an addendum to her detailed introduction which throws a light on the works’ genesis and reception and offers notes on interpretation.
- Saint-Saens Complete Instrumental Works Series III/8