Features of French Romanticism in Camille Saint-Saens Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor

Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921) is one of the most prominent composers whose music was created during the era of French Romanticism. It is also important to note that with references to the French music, the term ‘Romanticism’ became used only in the late part of the eighteenth century, and this movement flourished in France in the nineteenth century, when Saint-Saens composed the most famous of his pieces (Gutanu 266). However, while focusing on Saint-Saens’s music in the context of French Romanticism, it is necessary to state that the most remarkable composition of that period was Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor (Rees 116). Parker supported this idea and claimed: “It is enough to say here that, for the public, Saint-Sains means the Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, popularized by Sarasate” (568). Thus, it is possible to agree with the researcher’s words because the composition was written by Saint-Saens for Pablo de Sarasate in 1863, and the work received the public recognition because of the violinist’s virtuosity that accentuated the sophisticated pattern and style of the piece (Strasser 363).

During that period of time, Sarasate was one of the youngest and most famous Spanish virtuoso violinists, and he was also the composer’s friend, for whom Saint-Saens wrote several compositions (Ratner 188). In spite of the fact that Saint-Saens had the reputation of the serious composer who adopted the classical norms in his music, Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor allowed speaking about the composer as one of the representatives of the French Romantic movement. Therefore, much attention should be paid to analyzing the elements and specific features of this composition with the focus on the context of French Romanticism. The style and structure of Camille Saint-Saens’s Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor are complicated, and the composer adds to the dynamism of the piece while focusing on the use of vivid arpeggios, remarkable harmonic themes and chromatic sections, as well as expressive habanera rhythms.

Camille Saint-Saens’s Works in the Context of French Romanticism

The French instrumental music reflected the norms of Classicism till the late part of the eighteenth century. However, the progress of the ideas of Romanticism in the literature and art also influenced the sphere of the instrumental music because of allowing composers to pay more attention to the sensitive nature of their pieces (Mordden 112). Although the traditional classical forms were still applied in the music that was characteristic of French Romanticism, the focus was on adopting the innovative tools and interpretations of the traditional techniques. According to Locke, “in the revolution of feeling and thought which came at the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth centuries and which has been called “the Romantic movement,” French music took an active though belated part” (257). In spite of the fact that the French composers did not become the pioneers in adapting the approaches of Romanticism to composing musical pieces, many of them became the recognizable figures in the French Romantic movement, and Saint-Saens was one of these composers.

While trying to evaluate the role of Saint-Saens in the development of the French instrumental music in the nineteenth century, it is important to refer to the words of critics who discussed the composer’s talent. Parker wrote about Camille Saint-Saens that “the valuation which is arrived at by analogy almost breaks down” with references to this composer, and “comparisons avail little. He has no real analogue” (562). The composers’ achievements in different spheres were inimitable because Saint-Saens became known not only as a composer, a virtuosic pianist, an organist, a reputable teacher, and a conductor but also as a critic who gained the public’s recognition in this sphere (Strasser 362).

Thus, during his life, Saint‑Saens focused not only on composing the musical pieces but also on teaching and writing books. He paid much attention to studying the canons of Classicism and adapting them in his music, as well as studying the theory of music and developing approaches to the virtuosic playing (Prod’homme and Martens 472). As a result of focusing on the classical norms, Saint-Saens was “reproached by some with being too faithful to classic form, with sacrificing too much to its requirements, with being “too cold,” or not sufficiently a “theatrical man”; while others, on the contrary, have praised him for the same reasons” (Prod’homme and Martens 476). Nevertheless, adapting the norms of Classicism as the framework to his music, Saint-Saens became one of the innovators who also began to write the symphonic poems during the period of Romanticism.

It is important to note that Saint-Saens wrote many compositions, and their variety is impressive as his works include not only symphonic poems, but also operas, concertos, and pieces for violin, cello, and piano. The first symphonic poem was Le Rouet d’Omphale (1871), and the most popular pieces were the opera Samson and Delilah (1877) and the musical suite Carnival of the Animals (1886) (Ratner 126). In addition to his work as a composer, Saint-Saens was also known as one of the persons who founded the Societe Nationale de Musique in Paris in 1871 (Rees 54). Still, Saint-Saens made the largest contribution to the French music as a composer rather than a critic or a performer in spite of being a skilled pianist and an organist.

It is important to note that Saint-Saens’s position among the composers of the Romantic era in France is characterized by his focus on balancing between utilizing the innovative approaches typical of the Romantic Movement and the conservative Classical visions. The style of the composer’s pieces of music was characterized by the polished elegance and accentuation of the performers’ virtuosity (Prod’homme and Martens 476). As a result, being one of the famous Romantic composers, Saint-Saens utilized the tools of the Romantic era, but he enhanced them with a sound that was a characteristic feature of the logical and clear Classical music (Gutanu 267). Still, being one of the most prominent representatives of the French Romanticism, the composer also added more expressiveness to his pieces while adopting the rhythms typical of the French chanson, eclectic elements, Latino motives, as well as making musical references to the various cultures.

Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor that was composed in 1863 became the unique example of Saint-Saens’s music which could reflect his vision regarding the application of the aspects of the Romantic music to the piece and the combination of the features typical of different cultures. The composer also accentuated the expressiveness of playing with the help of focusing on elements that could be performed only by a virtuoso violinist (Parker 562). In spite of the fact that Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor immediately attracted the public’s attention after being performed by Sarasate, it was published by Hartmann only in 1870 (Fuld 304). The piece was written for Sarasate because the composer cooperated with this young virtuoso violinist for about four years, and he also composed The First Violin Concerto for this violinist.

The listeners, musicians, and critics highly appreciated Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso because it was not only lively but also embellished with the help of many music techniques. According to Dubal, in this composition, Saint-Saens seemed to be “elegant, fetching, and melancholy; here he is a French Mendelssohn” (139). In spite of the fact that the piece was written for the violin and the orchestra, the main focus was on the violinist’s virtuosity and the accentuation of his performance by the pianist’s accompaniment. It is possible to state that Saint-Saens made the piece colorful while referring to the Rondo theme, arpeggios, tutti, chromatic scales, and habanera rhythms in the composition (Rees 116). As a result, the piece is perceived as light and easy to listen. Musicians are also inclined to focus on the virtuosity that is required in order to perform all the changes in rhythmic and melodic patterns of the composition. Therefore, much attention should be paid to discussing the key elements of this piece in detail.

The Role of Arpeggios in Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor

In the nineteenth century, arpeggios were actively used in the French Romantic music for the purpose of making the rhythmic patterns and melodies more expressive. An arpeggio as a type of the broken chord that is characterized by playing the certain notes in succession was actively used in the musical pieces typical of Romanticism (Auer and Martens 57). In order to make the melodic patterns vivid, composers often referred to the use of ascending and descending arpeggios that could add more liveliness or, on the contrary, melancholy to the piece (Auer and Martens 58). While referring to Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor, it is important to state that virtuosic arpeggios, as one of the main features of this musical piece, are noticeable from the first sounds because the work is opened with the slow and melancholic theme that is full of rising arpeggios (Example 1; Saint-Saens 14). While discussing the use of arpeggios in this composition, Dubal noted that “the work abounds in diamondlike scales and glinting arpeggios” (139). From this perspective, this element became one of the characteristic and recognizable features of Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor.

Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor, the Introduction, arpeggios, bars 1-20
Example 1. Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor, the Introduction, arpeggios, bars 1-20 (Saint-Saens 14).

In the introductory part of the piece, arpeggios seem to be used in order to demonstrate how the mood of the work can be slowly changed to become more energetic, and these arpeggios indicate a kind of awakening in this part of Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso. Still, the most prominent arpeggios which are changed with significant and accentuated leaps are observed before the part labeled by the composer as ‘Con morbidezza’ in the section with the Rondo theme (Example 2; Saint-Saens 19). It is significant to state that in this section, arpeggios are used by the composer in order to emphasize the contrast between the wildness and softness of the performed music. In contrast to the arpeggios that were masterly performed in the introductory part of the piece, the arpeggios observed in the other parts of the work are rather fast-paced and even wild (Thompson 8). Those musicians and critics who are interested in the analysis of Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor traditionally evaluate the virtuosity of the violinist while referring to the arpeggios presented in the final parts of the musical piece.

 Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor, the Rondo, arpeggios, bars 125-158
Example 2. Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor, the Rondo, arpeggios, bars 125-158 (Saint-Saens 19).

The most recognizable falling arpeggios in Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso are also typical of the Rondo part (Example 3; Saint-Saens 17). The falling arpeggios that are noticed since bar 88 are important to introduce the Rondo theme again in this piece (Saint-Saens 17). These arpeggios are used to demonstrate the shift to the other series of arpeggios before the part that was marked as ‘Con morbidezza.’

Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor, the Rondo, falling arpeggios, bars 88-102
Example 3. Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor, the Rondo, falling arpeggios, bars 88-102 (Saint-Saens 17).

With references to the arpeggios that attracted the attention of the listener, researchers are inclined to analyze the quality of the Introduction in the piece. In his work, Rees stated that the Introduction “follows the operatic pattern of recitative and aria and, familiar as the opening phrases are, they can still induce a frisson in the most jaded listener” (116). If Rees is focused on the role of arpeggios in creating the overall rhythmic pattern in the Introduction, Thompson refers to the melodic quality of this part of the piece: “A plangent violin melody, interrupted by short, more agitated passages, dominates the brief Introduction” (8). Thus, the dominant arpeggios cannot be ignored by a violinist or a listener.

In their turn, Auer and Martens note that the role of arpeggios is extremely significant to affect the performer and the audience because the tempo is not followed. The researchers state in their work that “it happens that the “Introduction,” which Saint-Saens has marked Andante malinconico, is frequently played too rapidly and without the least trace of “melancholy” in expression” (Auer and Martens 124). Thus, focusing on the researchers’ analysis and comments, it is possible to note that Saint-Saens was inclined to refer to arpeggios as a specific tool to set the melodic bridges between different themes, as well as emphasize various parts while making the arpeggios dominant musical effects in the composition.

Harmonic Themes and Chromatic Sections in Saint-Saens’s Piece

In contrast to the canons of Classicism, the Romantic music was characterized by the highly accentuated chromaticism that was reflected in the works in spite of the previously important focus on the tonal patterns. The melodic structure of the Romantic pieces became more diverse, and a new, rather innovative approach was used in order to create the harmony that was usually based on the diminished seventh (Mordden 124). Therefore, more attention was paid to the chromatic harmony and the manipulation of chromatic chords in musical works. It is important to accentuate the fact that the Romantic composers chose the references to chromaticism as a specific use of notes on a scale in order to add more vividness to the melodic patterns of the piece (Dubal 112). Therefore, this approach was used by many composers, including Frederic Chopin and Richard Wagner among others. In their compositions, Chopin and Wagner determined the chromatic scales in order to accentuate the unique harmonies.

Similarly to the other Romantic composers, Saint-Saens also focused on the active use of chromaticism and harmonic themes in his compositions because this approach could be followed instead of using many other musical tools, including cadences and tutti among them. The particular harmonic themes were usually combined in the French Romantic musical pieces with recitative intonations and chromatic inflections, and this detail was also actively utilized by Saint-Saens for the purpose of adding to the sound diversity in the piece (Auer and Martens 123-124). Therefore, it is important to note that in Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor, the chromatic inflections are used in order to connect the syncopated arpeggios of the Introduction with the Rondo part, as well as to accentuate passages with arpeggios that are observed in the harmonic themes that have the obvious Spanish rhythms (Gutanu 267; Rees 118). The use of these chromatic scalar passages is the characteristic feature of Saint-Saens’s work, and the reference to chromatic scales can be discussed as contributing to the piece’s liveliness.

While focusing on the stylistic features of the composition, it is significant to note that the harmonic themes are accentuated from the first sounds of the piece which is opened with the 36-bar theme written in A minor and labeled as ‘Andante malinconico’ (Auer and Martens 124; Saint-Saens 15). The melancholy of this theme is represented not only with the help of the harmonic theme but also with references to the rhythmic pattern because the tempo is changed to Animato and then Tranquillo during the theme (Saint-Saens 15-16). The mini-cadenza or quasi-cadenza which follows the introduction serves in the work as a bridge between the slowly animated introductory themes and the Rondo (Saint-Saens 19). It is also important to note that the Rondo theme appears in the piece several times, and it is played both lively and quietly in different parts (Dubal 139). In the context of this composition, Rondo is the main harmonically complete theme that starts after the introductory 36-bar theme and marked as ‘Allegro non troppo’ in the notes of Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor (Saint-Saens 15-16). It is also possible to identify two main ideas in this theme which are different in terms of their liveliness. The first one is energetic and rather syncopated (Example 4; Saint-Saens 15). According to Auer and Martens, “this syncopation upon which … the theme itself is based, recurs on each and every occasion when the theme itself appears, and forms the musical “backbone” of the entire composition” (125). This approach allowed Saint-Saens to make the changes in theme more expressive and dynamic.

Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor, the first Rondo theme, bars 37-65
Example 4. Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor, the first Rondo theme, bars 37-65 (Saint-Saens 15).

It is important to pay attention to the fact that the composer introduces the Rondo theme with the focus on the harmonic minor. The use of this approach, which is reflected in bar 37-39, instead of the melodic minor allows emphasizing not only the lilting habanera rhythm but also the overall harmony of the theme (Example 4; Saint-Saens 15). The changes in the melody are also reflected with the help of the virtuosic use of scalar passages that are important in order to accentuate the changes in the harmonic pattern (Thompson 8). While analyzing the first Rondo theme, Rees claimed that in the Rondo, “there is also a contrast between the rhythmically firm opening phrases and the gentle guitar-like accompaniment to a seductive dance, the first of Saint-Saens’s many tributes to Sarasate’s Spain” (116). From this perspective, it is possible to assume that Saint-Saens used the harmonic themes and chromatic sections in order to create the intended rhythmic effect and ornament while attracting the audience’s attention to changes in the habanera rhythms.

The second Rondo theme appears in bar 73 (Example 5; Saint-Saens 16). The other variant of the Rondo theme can be viewed as rather light, and it is important to note that habanera dancing rhythms are more accentuated in the second Rondo theme in comparison to the first theme. As a result, the scholars pay attention to the fact that the theme is characterized by the accentuated liveliness and lyricism while being performed in major, and it reflects the melody presented in the Introduction expressively (Auer and Martens 124; Rees 116; Saint-Saens 16). This variant of the theme can be used in order to provide more accents on the scalar passages and arpeggios in the piece, as well as emphasize the rhythmic patterns that can be observed where bar 87 starts.

Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor, the second Rondo theme, bars 66-87
Example 5. Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor, the second Rondo theme, bars 66-87 (Saint-Saens 16).

Thus, the Rondo in Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso is discussed as impressive because of the use of dynamic arpeggios that change the overall melodic pattern, and they can put stresses on different dominant sections of the piece. Even in the final part of the piece, the chromatic scale is presented as falling, and then it is accentuated by one more rise (Saint-Saens 19). The purpose of this scale is to make the Rondo more expressive. Therefore, the Rondo is repeated in this part of the composition while being accentuated by the discussed chromatic scale effectively. Speaking about the overall role of harmonic themes and the Rondo theme in the work, Mordden claims that Saint-Saens “spins out an inconsequential but pleasant Rondo here, topping it with a virtuoso’s coda of the sort designed to set off the violin as the television talk show sets off the celebrity” (236). From this perspective, the Rondo theme is referred to as a diamond in this piece, and its aim is to accentuate the virtuosity of a violinist.

Thus, the destabilization of relationships between themes, the unexpected transitions between patterns, and the focus on chromaticism can be discussed as elements which were accentuated by Saint-Saens in his prominent musical piece intentionally (Deruchie 124). The role of the harmonic themes in the piece is reflected in the vivid and emphasized changes in the melodies and rhythms that are observed when the Introduction is changed with the Rondo theme that, in its turn, also changes to reflect the main two melodic and rhythmic ideas (Auer and Martens 124; Saint-Saens 17). The main task of the violinist who performs this piece is to demonstrate his virtuosity while adopting different rhythms and shifting between rapid and slow lyrical themes. It is important to note that changes in rhythmic and harmonic themes are significant to distinguish Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor among the other works that were created for virtuoso violinists in the nineteenth century.

The Composer’s Tools to Accentuate Harmonic Themes and Chromatic Sections

The Rondo theme and chromatic sections in the piece can serve to add to the composition’s expressiveness when they are supported with certain musical tools, including scales, the cadenza, unexpected changes in the tempo, and tutti. From this perspective, in Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor, Saint-Saens used tutti in order to accentuate the Rondo part in the composition. It is important to acknowledge that the Rondo theme became supported in the piece with several energetic tutti parts that were used effectively in order to add to the refrain and emphasize the liveliness of the melody (Deruchie 126).

This approach allowed making the tonal and melodic pattern of the piece balanced because the key melodies were represented in different parts of the work (Rees 117). Still, much attention was paid not only to the first sections of the piece but also to the final part. Thus, in the final part of the work, the rhythmic and melodic patterns were emphasized by the cadenza and coda (Thompson 8). Thompson claims in his analysis of Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor that in this section of the piece, “a short cadenza for the soloist in double stops introduces a fast and brilliant Coda, in which the soloist skitters hectically up and down the strings” (8). It is possible to note that this approach allowed making the sound more interesting and attractive to the listener.

The variety of approaches is used in Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor in order to enhance the sound and put an emphasis on the virtuosic playing performed by the violinist. While accentuating the diversity of this piece, Mordden points in his discussion to “one movement’s worth of showpiece miscellany for the soloist” that was “opened by a melancholy introduction with a slightly folkish flavor” (236). The researcher also continues noting that “the accompaniment of plucked strings suggests a guitar serenade” (236). Therefore, scholars agree that violinists should concentrate on slow and rapid shifts between rhythms and melodies in this piece in order to create the virtuosic pattern (Auer and Martens 124). All these discussed approaches were used by Saint-Saens for the purpose of making the composition more expressive, and this aspect allows discussing the piece in the context of the French Romantic music.

However, the variety of tools added by the composer to the work in order to accentuate the main elements of the piece is rather impressive, and many marks made by the composer in order to guide the violinist while performing the composition can be ignored in a situation when the performer is not a virtuoso violinist (Auer and Martens 123). While discussing this problem, Auer and Martens noted that Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor is one of the specific repertoire and music pieces “which often are subjected to rather brutal treatment, sometimes owing to lack of a correct sense of style on the performer’s part, sometimes owing to neglect of the tempo marks and other interpretative indications provided by the composer” (124). The performance of Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso can become a challenging task for a violinist. Still, the used stylistic musical instruments and tools cannot be ignored because they are important in order to create the unique picture related to Saint-Saens’s vision of the French Romantic music.

Habanera Rhythms in Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor

In the French Romantic music, such eclectic, folk, and dancing music elements as habanera rhythms became actively used in the nineteenth century, and they were perceived by composers as the origin of their inspiration. It is important to note that the word ‘habanera’ is translated as “the thing from Havana” (Wright 294). In his work, Wright explains that habanera was “a type of dance-song that developed in Spanish-controlled Cuba during the early nineteenth century” (294). Therefore, scholars pay attention to the fact that the Romantic composers became interested in the rhythmic elements of this dance, and they even began to apply this rhythmic pattern to their instrumental pieces while expanding frames for the music interpretation (Prod’homme and Martens 472; Wright 294).

Romanticism can be viewed as the period when composers focused on combining different music tempos and folk elements, and this kind of blending led to using the Spanish rhythms in writing the stylistically unique works for pianos and violins (Mordden 112; Prod’homme and Martens 472; Wright 294). While analyzing the origins of habanera, Wright also points at the “African and Latin influences” that can “be seen in the descending chromatic scale, and certainly in the static harmony … as well as in the insistent, repetitious rhythm” (294). These words support the idea that this dancing motive impressed many composers who were known as representatives of the French Romantic movement because, in contrast to the canons of Classicism, these rhythms were adopted to make the piece vivid, lively, and attractive.

The impact of the Spanish motives on the French music was significant. While discussing this phenomenon, Thompson states that “the best Spanish music of the late 19th century was actually written by French composers who had fallen for their southern neighbor’s turbulent history, colorful traditions and distinctive musical idioms, with their strong Gypsy and Moorish flavors” (8). The French composers were interested in finding the ways of how to use the cultural heritage of different nations effectively and apply it to their pieces in order to accentuate the particular patterns of the French Romantic music. As a result, the variety of unique Romantic pieces was written with references to the African, Latin, and other folk motives and rhythms (Thompson 8; Wright 294). When Saint-Saens wrote his Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor, the impact of the Spanish and Latin motives was most obvious.

In this context, the most vivid effect of referring to the Spanish rhythms by the French composer on the music was observed in terms of Georges Bizet’s compositions. The impact of the Spanish musical heritage on Bizet’s opera Carmen composed in 1875 was significant. In spite of the fact that Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor was written by Saint-Saens before Carmen became popular, the composer’s virtuosity in using habanera rhythms in the work was compared by scholars to this particular piece. According to Thompson, Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor is “truly ‘capricious’ in character, like the flighty heroine of Bizet’s opera,” and “a series of descending trills” initiating the Rondo “takes us straight into the southern Spanish, Gypsy world of Bizet’s Carmen” (Thompson 8). In his piece, Saint‑Saens adopted the rhythm of habanera in its syncopated form. Therefore, in Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, habanera intends to accentuate the virtuosic performance of the main Rondo theme that returns in the work in its different forms while being rapid or quiet, intense or delicate. The interest of Saint-Saens in the Spanish music was intense since he included the habanera rhythms not only in Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor but also in the other composition written for violin and orchestra and known as Havanaise (1887).

Conclusion

Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor can be considered as an appropriate example to discuss and explain aesthetic elements of the French Romantic music that were reflected in the pieces written in the nineteenth century. From this perspective, Saint-Saens’s Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso is one of the most expressive and dynamic works that combines features of the instrumental and popular music typical of the era of Romanticism. Moreover, this piece is also an example of Saint-Saens’s approach to combining rhythms and adding unexpected elements to the melodic and harmonic complexity of the music. In his composition, Saint-Saens uses ascending and descending arpeggios in order to accentuate different parts of the piece. As a result, these musical elements become dominant and attract the listener’s attention to the virtuosity with which a violinist can perform this work. In this context, the performance of Pablo de Sarasate is discussed as a standard or a model to follow. From this point, such advanced elements as arpeggios became the characteristic feature of the piece, and they allow distinguishing it among other examples of the French Romantic music.

In addition to the use of arpeggios, the unique style of Saint-Saens is recognized because of the focus on harmonic themes, as well as chromatic sections and scales. Still, much attention is paid to the composer’s interpretation of the Rondo theme in the piece. It is important to state that Saint-Saens made the Rondo theme based on different harmonies as the core element of the piece with the help of presenting two themes that were repeated and changed while creating the unique melodic, tonal, and rhythmic patterns. Furthermore, the accentuated chromaticism of the composition can be discussed as a distinctive feature of the French Romantic pieces. Saint-Saens succeeded in creating the typical Romantic piece which lyricism was based on the use of elements that were actively utilized by many French composers in the era of Romanticism.

In this context, much attention should be paid to the composer’s interpretation of habanera rhythms in Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor. Many Romantic compositions that were written in the nineteenth century adapted the elements of the folk and popular music in order to make the piece more vivid. Saint-Saens focused on the development of the Spanish theme in his work, and the Rondo section was based on the expressive habanera rhythms. It is possible to note that this approach to using the various cultures’ motives in the Romantic pieces allowed the composer to demonstrate the respect for Sarasate’s talent and reflect tendencies in the instrumental music. Thus, Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor can be discussed as one of the most remarkable pieces written by Camille Saint-Saens during his life because this composition is characterized by the unique chromaticism, the rapid shifts between melodic patterns and rhythms, the effective use of arpeggios and harmonic themes, as well as by the focus on accentuated scalar passages.

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