Gaston Choisnel is the dedicatee of O salutaris hostia
, the only organ transcription of his own work that Saint-Saëns ever published. Generally he was happy to allow others (Guilmant, Busser, Boëllmann and Gigout among them) to undertake these arrangements for him, but in 1904 he himself returned to the Mass, Op 4, of 1856, and to its graceful fifth movement, for sopranos and organ, as the source for this miniature. He performed the piece himself at the Salle Pleyel in November 1904, prompting Arthur Pougin to write in Le Ménestrel
of this ‘absolutely delightful’ work that it ‘so enchanted the audience’ and that ‘so enthusiastic was the applause that he should have repeated it’.
from notes by Andrew-John Smith © 2012