Saint-Saëns was renowned for his improvised fugues and Op 109 demonstrates well the ‘clean, clear, incisive subject, the surprisingly ingenious countersubject, the exquisitely imaginative and inventive episodes’ of which Huré wrote. Saint-Saëns himself related the anecdote of the bride who shocked him with the request not to play fugues at her wedding as they were too serious, and whilst Op 150 reveals an array of improvisatory possibilities, Op 109 attests also to the variety of his fugues. The first and third of Op 109, in D minor and C major respectively, are certainly cast in the grand style that he advocated for the instrument, though with varying characters. The G major, however, is full of the charm, grace and balance found in so much of his music. Vierne praised the works for their form and colour and asserted that they should be ‘… in the repertoire of any organist truly worthy of the name, as much for their superb style as for their virtuosic demands’.
from notes by Andrew-John Smith © 2011