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Saint-Saëns: The Swan for Viola & Piano

Digital Sheet Music

By Camille Saint-Saens

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Piano, Viola - Level 2 - Digital Download
Composed by Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921). Arranged by James M. Guthrie, ASCAP. Concert, Instructional, Romantic Period, Standards. Score and part. 9 pages. Jmsgu3 #3452293. Published by jmsgu3 (A0.549129).

Item Number: A0.549129

Saint-Saëns: The Swan (Le Cygne) movement 13 from the Carnival of the Animals Suite. Duration: 2:50 Score: 5 pg, 28 ms. Solo part: 1 pg. Piano part: 3 pg. Performance: Level: Early intermediate and up. One of his most popular and widely recognized works, it is the only movement from the Carnival Suite which Saint-Saëns permitted to be performed in public during his lifetime. This is an excellent recital encore choice to demonstrate melodic playing and strategic phrasing.  

The Carnival of the Animals

The Carnival of the Animals is an entertaining musical suite of fourteen movements by Camille Saint-Saëns. The work was composed for private performance by an ensemble of two pianos and solo instruments. The Swan (No. 13) is one of the most popular of the fourteen movements. In its entirety, it and lasts about 25 minutes.


Saint-Saëns Background

Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns 1835 – 1921) was, by all means, in particular, a famous French composer, brilliant organist, and significant musical mastermind of the Romantic era. Certainly, his most famous compositions, in the long run, include his Piano Concerto No. 2 (1868), Cello Concerto No. 1 (1872), and the Danse macabre (1874). Notwithstanding, we must also add the Violin Concerto No. 3 (1880), Symphony No. 3 ("the Organ Symphony, 1886") and, it must be remembered, Carnival of the Animals (1886) to the list.


It is important to realize that Saint-Saëns was certainly, in fact, a child musical prodigy. Consequently, with this in mind he made his concert debut albeit at ten years old. Another key point to remember is that he expressly studied at the Paris Conservatoire, then in spite of reality conversely followed a traditional career path as a church organist. Nevertheless, twenty years later, on the other hand, he left to become a successful freelance pianist and composer despite, as has been noted, his former employment situation. Furthermore, his performances were after all markedly in demand - not only in Europe, but above all in the Americas all in all as well.


A point often overlooked in that in his youth, Saint-Saëns was certainly excited about the modern music of the day. He was in essence fond of the music of his contemporaries, in particular, Schumann, Liszt and for the most part Wagner. In contrast, however, his own compositions seemed in fact largely confined within the conservative classical tradition. Be that as it may, he was at the same time nevertheless, in fact, a scholar of musical history.


On the whole, his conservatism in fact ultimately brought him into frequent conflict in his later years with composers of the impressionist and in particular the dodecaphonic schools of musical thought.  A point often overlooked is that contrary to some critics, he included neoclassical elements in his music. Furthermore, in so doing he provided the most compelling evidence that he predicted the techniques and works by Stravinsky and Les Six. To put it another way, given these points, he was regarded, perhaps for the most part unfairly so, as a non-progressive reactionary henceforth around the time of his passing.


To sum up, Saint-Saëns taught for a short time in Paris, where his students included namely Gabriel Fauré. To clarify, Maurice Ravel later studied with Fauré. In conclusion, both Ravel and Fauré were powerfully influenced by Saint-Saëns, whom they respected as a musical mastermind.


This product was created by a member of ArrangeMe, Hal Leonard’s global self-publishing community of independent composers, arrangers, and songwriters. ArrangeMe allows for the publication of unique arrangements of both popular titles and original compositions from a wide variety of voices and backgrounds.

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