Elegie for Violin & Piano, Op.160
During the third quarter of the 19 century, when the French only seemed interested in opera, Camille Saint-SaŽns (1835-1921), almost single-handedly, attempted to make the case for chamber music, which so many of his countrymen continued to think of as something German. Although famous for his larger orchestral works and instrumental concertos, he devoted a great deal of time and effort to writing chamber music. Not only does he have two string quartets to his credit, but he also wrote three works for piano trio, a quintet for piano, two violins, viola and cello, but also sonatas and instrumental works.
Saint-SaŽns' Second Elegie for Violin and Piano was composed in 1920, the year before his death. It is surprisingly upbeat, beginning with a beautiful melody which is full of optimism and good spirits but then proceeds to a powerful and fiery climax, before slowly fading away--a fine work by any standard, but certainly an incredible one for an 85 year old!
This is a recital piece par excellence and should be considered by both professionals and amateurs alike.