The Fantaisie No 3
, Op 157, dates from 1919 and contains passages that, like the late wind sonatas, juxtapose music reminiscent of Ravel with that which might seem old fashioned even next to the 1857 fantasy. Indeed, this piece perhaps more than any other organ work encapsulates the problem that scholars have in trying to place Saint-Saëns’ style. As we would expect, it is carefully put together and makes use of sparse, minimal textures and a thinly accompanied hautbois solo. It is easy to understand on hearing this piece how Saint-Saëns came to be regarded as such a musical anachronism in a world that had already witnessed the first serialist experiments.
from notes by Andrew-John Smith © 2008