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Music with Ease > Classical Music > Concert Guide: Romantic Era > Suite Algérienne. Op. 60 - Saint-Saëns


Suite Algérienne. Op. 60

Camille Saint-Saëns
(1835-1921)



The Suite "Algérienne" has for its title on the score "Picturesque Impressions of a Voyage to Algeria." As this title suggests, it is a tone picture, and its four movements need only brief description to convey the meaning of their contents. It opens with a prelude, "View of Algiers," in which the characteristic undulatory movement of the music indicates the sea, and other phrases the vessel approaching the harbor and glimpses of novel sights. The second movement, "Moorish Rhapsody," is in three closely connected sections. The first is brilliant in style, and is closely worked out contrapuntally. The second is based upon an Oriental melody and is simple in construction, and the third is marked by fantastic combinations of instruments and bizarre effects. The third movement, "An Evening Dream at Blidah," a fortress near Algiers, is a quiet, romantic nocturne. In the last movement a French military march is worked up in elaborate style. A note to the score indicates that the composer not only emphasizes his joy in viewing the French garrison, but also the security felt under its protection. Judged by the pomposity of the march rhythm, the composer’s joy and sense of security knew no bounds in expression.





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