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Music with Ease > Classical Music > Concert Guide: Romantic Era > Rouet d'Omphale. Op. 31 - Saint-Saëns


Rouet d'Omphale. Op. 31

Camille Saint-Saëns
(1835-1921)



The symphonic poem, "Rouet d’Omphale" ("Omphale’s Spinning Wheel"), illustrates the old story of Hercules serving as slave to the Lydian queen, and running her spinning wheel in female attire by her side. The composition is in sonatina form, and quite short, but exceedingly naïve and graceful. It begins with a characteristic imitation of the wheel by the violins in a well-known figure. The second motive, a sombre melody in the bass, characterizes the lamenting, groaning Hercules; but Omphale, soon sets him to work again, and the wheel resumes its lively, characteristic rhythm. The poem is vivacious and elegant throughout, and a good illustration of Saint-Saëns’ cleverness in instrumentation.





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