In November 1897 Saint-Saëns gave a private performance for Queen Marie Christine of Spain at the church of San Francisco in Madrid. His short recital included the Rhapsodies
, Op 7, the ‘mon cœur’ aria from Samson
(transcribed on the spot) and a Marche religieuse
. Whether this piece was written previously, was written specifically for this occasion or improvised here and notated later is unclear. In any event it was published the following year with a dedication to Marie Christine. This exuberant, powerful and elegant piece was one of two organ pieces that Saint-Saëns included in what is supposed to have been his last public recital, at the Salle Gaveau on 6 November 1913.
from notes by Andrew-John Smith © 2008