The Cello Sonata No 1 in C minor Op 32, from 1872, was the first result of the new Sociťtť Nationale de Musique, and therefore a work of significance for France. As in the case of Brahmsís First Symphony, the choice of key may owe something to Beethoven. The second movement is in the relative major key of E flat and originates from an organ improvisation in the church of Saint Augustin. Charles-Marie Widor told the story of the composition of the third movement. After attending the successful first performance of the Sonata, Saint-SaŽns, surprised that his mother had made no comment on the piece, asked: ĎDonít you have anything to say? Arenít you pleased?í Mme. Saint-SaŽns then said she liked the first two movements, but not the finale. A few days later he triumphantly told her: ĎI have composed a new finale! Do you want to hear it?í This is the finale we know today. It contains quotes from the first act of Meyerbeerís LíAfricaine
ópossibly a favourite of Saint-SaŽnsís motherís. The Sonata is in good company in his output, preceded by the Introduction et rondo capriccioso
Op 28 for violin and orchestra and Le rouet díOmphale
Op 31, considered the first French symphonic poem, and followed by the Cello Concerto No 1 in A minor Op 33.
from notes by Mats LidstrŲm © 1999