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Valse gaie op.139 (Camille Saint-Saëns)




Like all composers born in the nineteenth century, Saint-Saëns yielded to the exhilaration of the waltz for piano: five unpublished waltzes from the 1840s, Menuet et Valse (1872), Étude en forme de valse op.52 no.6 (1877), the Valse from the Albumop.72 (1884), Valse canariote (1890), Valse mignonne (1896), Valse nonchalante (1898), Valse langoureuse (1903) and Valse gaie (1912). Saint-Saëns dedicated the Valse gaie to Émile Hoskier, consul general of Denmark in France and banker to the composer (who had taught Hoskier’s daughter’s the piano). On 11 November 1912 he announced to the publisher Durand: ‘I have started writing a little waltz to be dedicated to M. Hoskier, who has been asking me to do so for years.’ A week later, the piece was apparently finished: ‘Hoskier is rejoicing in the number of people who will envy him. Perhaps that isn’t very charitable of him, but it is very natural.’ On 16 January 1913 the dedicatee expressed his warm thanks to Saint-Saëns, adding: ‘It would seem that Durand has already sold piles of the piece, and all my friends talk to me about it. I don’t think I’ll ever manage to play it; I’m too old, my fingers aren’t much use any more, and then the composition is very difficult. Luckily, my daughter, your pupil, is staying with me; she plays it admirably, to perfection, with a lightness and finesse you cannot imagine.’ Mlle Hoskier must have been a pianist of the front rank to be able to perform this swirling waltz, bristling with difficulties (parallel thirds in a single hand, arpeggios, octaves, repeated notes), which Georges Servières admired for its elegance and the diversity of its ideas.

    Person - 1
  • SAINT-SAËNS, Camille (1835-1921)
  • Themes - 2
  • Piano – La « pièce de genre » pianistique
  • Piano – Le répertoire pour piano à l’orée du XXe siècle