Marche Militaire Française

From Wind Repertory Project
Camille Saint-Saëns

Camille Saint-Saëns (trans. Mark Hindsley)

Subtitle: From Suite Algérienne

General Info

Year: 1880 / 1958
Duration: c. 4:40
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Hindsley Transcriptions
Cost: Score and Parts - $66.00  |   Score Only - $13.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
Contrabassoon (optional)
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III-IV
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet I-II
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II
B-flat Cornet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Snare Drum


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Saint-Saëns (1835—1921) was a child prodigy, composing his first piece for piano at the age of three and entered the Paris Conservatory at age 13. He was a private student of Charles Gounod. He was also an accomplished pianist, conductor, score reader, and astronomer. As a composer, he wrote in many genres, including opera, symphonies, concertos, sacred and secular choral music, concertos, and chamber music. His highly popular works include Danse Macabre and Samson & Delilah.

March Militaire Française is the finale movement of a four-movement symphonic poem, Suite Algérienne, Opus 60, that was inspired by Saint-Saëns’s trips to Algeria, then a French colony on the continent of Africa. Although no authentic Algerian music exists in this piece, Saint-Saëns used melodic tendencies of the native Algerian culture. The last movement, Marche Militaire Française, has become famous independently of the others both as an orchestral favorite and as a French concert march for the wind ensemble and concert band.

- Program Note from the Owasso High School Wind Ensemble concert program, 20 December 2012

The subtitle of Saint-Saëns' Algerian Suite is "Picturesque Impressions of a Voyage to Algiers". Of its four movements, three are decidedly oriental in coloring. The fourth, the Military March, is by contrast quite French; it was intended to emphasize the contrast found at Algiers between the native and the French settlements. In a note on the score the composer emphasized the fact that he not only felt joyful at seeing French soldiers, but he was conscious of the security he enjoyed under their protection.

- Program note by Everett Kisinger from Band Music Notes

From 1880, the complete Suite Algerienne incorporates references to traditional Arab melodies. The finale acknowledges Algeria’s ultimate absorption into Metropolitan France, over a long period of colonization. Algerian independence was not restored until the fall of France’s Fourth Republic in 1958. The Marche militaire française by Camille Saint-Saëns is the fourth and final tableau of the Suite Algerienne. Biographer Arthur Hervey described the latter as a tonal record of the composer’s impressions, “during a sojourn in southern climes.” The march contrasts all the exoticism of the suite’s preceding movements with an unmistakably French finale that belies the composer’s irrepressible patriotism. Nothing could be more lively, more rousing — in a word, more French — than this conclusion to an otherwise conventional work.

- Program Note from The Virginia Wind Symphony concert program, 21 December 2017


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Smith, Norman and Albert Stoutamire (1979). Band Music Notes. Rev. ed. San Diego: Kjos West, p. 199.
  • Suite algérienne. Wikipedia. Accessed 6 August 2023