Camille Saint-Saëns was one of the most important French composers of the Romantic era. Many of Saint-Saëns’ compositions remain popular today and frequently performed. Orchestras often include in their programs Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op. 78 “Organ Symphony” (1886), an orchestral work with an organ part. Le carnaval des animaux (The Carnival of the Animals) (1886) is a favorite especially among children. For a violinist, Introduction and Rondo Capriccio in A minor, Op. 28 (1863) is one of the most essential pieces for solo violin and orchestra. Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22 (1868) is increasingly gaining status as an indispensable piece for the instrument. Likewise, Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Op. 33 is regarded by many as a piece cellist must learn. Perhaps the work is not as admired as the other famous nineteenth century cello concertos like Cello Concerto No. 2 in B minor, Op. 104 by Antonín Dvořák and Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 129 by Robert Schumann. Nevertheless, Saint-Saëns’ composition is full of melodies and phrases that provoke inner emotion of performers and listeners alike.
Saint-Saëns composed Cello Concerto No. 1 in 1872 for a French cellist Auguste Tolbecque. The work premiered in Paris on January 19, 1873. The concerto comprises three movements, but they are all continuously performed.