This Sunday we will celebrate the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi. For our prelude to that service, I will play The Swan from Carnival of the Animals by Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns (1835 - 1921).
Saint-Saëns studied piano as a child, and by age ten he made his concert stage debut. He went on to study organ and composition at the Paris Conservatoire. Saint-Saëns served for many years as organist of La Madeleine, official church of the French Empire.
As a composer, Saint-Saëns was conservative in his approach, but always mindful of its evolution. He wrote Carnival of the Animals in 1886, mostly as a distraction following an unsuccessful concert tour of Germany. Written for his friends, the work was intended for private performance only.
Carnival of the Animals was published after his death, however, and would eventually become one of the composer’s most recognizable works, known today to audiences worldwide.
Enjoy the music - and until we meet again, take care and stay well!