A Violin Concerto for a Prodigal Child

A message of clarity. © Charles Thibo

Just one movement. So promising. Like the dawn announcing a beautiful day. Unfinished business? No. Camille de Saint-Saëns cast his first violin concerto in A major (op. 22) in a single short movement of some 15 minutes, and if you have a closer look at the score, you may be able to identify three distinct sections. And as much as I hate to admit it, researching the background of this piece has proved rather difficult.

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A Last Coffee in Paris before I Leave

Castillon
Un autre au revoir. © Charles Thibo

You will perhaps recall a post about Camille de Saint-Saëns’ Quartet for Piano, Violin, Viol and Cello in E Major and the tender melancholy that befalls me whenever I am leaving Paris by train. Crossing the Gare de l’Est, having one last coffee at the brasserie, buying one last book at the bookstore, hurrying to the platform, announced at the last possible moment – no matter how long I have stayed in Paris, it always feels like I leave too early.

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Daydreaming with a Little Known French Sextet

Morning charm. © Charles Thibo

Horns. You will ask: Again? Let me tell you, autumn is the time of the horns. At sunrise I am riding through the woods and fields, through the morning fog, and I am sounding my horn, and when the horse is exhausted, I will stop at a willow tree, take out a book with German poems and sit down. I will enjoy the peace, the fresh air, the solitude, and I will abandon myself to a moment of daydreaming.

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Visiting a Place I Had Seen in My Dreams 

Scotland SaintSaens Sym3
Flying into happiness. © Charles Thibo

When I was very young, one of my favourite books was a youth novel written by Enid Blyton: The Sea of Adventures. Four children and a British intelligence officer chase weapon smugglers somewhere in Northern Scotland. The Hebrides, the Orkneys. Enid Blyton’s description of the landscape – an archipelago full of sea birds far away from the civilized world – captured my fantasy. Many times I would dream about those islands, wishing to see them for myself, imagining to explore them like Jack, Philipp, Dina, Lucy did, accompanied by the parrot Kiki and their grown-up friend Bill. Endless days of leisure and adventure in the middle of a wonderful natural scenery.

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