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Valse canariote op. 88 (Camille Saint-Saëns)




Composed on La Palma in April 1890, the Valse canariote by Camille Saint-Saëns was dedicated to Mademoiselle Candelaria Navarro Sigala (1870-1945), a young pianist from one of the wealthiest families in the Canary Islands. Before introducing the actual waltz rhythm, the work begins with a solemn, slow introduction in common time above which the composer has noted “O Canaria! Gran Canaria!”. This leads into the first waltz section marked vivace. With six melodic sections alternating in irregular sequences and a varied harmonic trajectory (Aminor, C major, A major, F major, E major, E flat major, B major, G major), this waltz is undoubtedly the composer’s most sophisticated work in this genre. According to Sabina Teller Ratner, Saint-Saëns’ melodic writing in this piece shows, as often in his work, a liking for symmetry and balance. Four years after the composition of the Valse canariote, Camille Saint-Saëns wrote to his publisher, Durand: “I met up again with Señorita Candelaria Navarro who is married, extremely well married at that, and mother to a pretty little girl of two months; she played my waltz in an entirely satisfactory fashion, although it didn’t equal the marvellous performance by Madame de Guitaut; she has neglected her piano a great deal since she married, but she has started singing instead, and her voice is mellow and agreeable.” (10 January 1894).

    Person - 1
  • SAINT-SAËNS, Camille (1835-1921)
  • Themes - 2
  • Piano – La « pièce de genre » pianistique
  • Salons – La musique dans les salons de la Troisième République