The Swan (1886)
Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921)
(arr. Richard Balcombe)
Saint-Saens published an enormous amount of music during his life, yet he withheld The Carnival of the Animals, which he regarded as frivolous: a "private joke" intended solely for the amusement of his friends. However, he did relent in the case of just one of the numbers, Le Cygne (The Swan) and it not only became a best-seller in its sheet-music form, but was further popularised in the celebrated "Dying Swan" solo created by the prima ballerina Anna Pavlova.
Ironically, when the complete Carnival was finally printed the year after Saint-Saen's death, it soon became his most-played composition.
(c) Edward Johnson