Finale from "Symphony No. 3" (Saint-Saens)

From Wind Repertory Project
Camille Saint-Saëns

Camille Saint-Saëns (arr. Evan VanDoren)

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Subtitle: Organ Symphony
The original symphony bears the designation Opus 78.

General Info

Year: 1886 / 2022
Duration: c. 7:50
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Organ and orchestra
Publisher: RWS Music Company
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $150.00   |   Score Only (print) - $10.00


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Program Notes

The Finale from Saint-Saëns’ 3rd Symphony (“with Organ”) is a shimmering, sparkling explosion of color that stands out among the classical repertoire as one of its most exciting endings! Evan VanDoren has masterfully captured Saint-Saëns’ unique compositional color and style, adjusting the key for maximum playability, while staying true to the original work.

- Program Note from publisher

Camille Saint-Saens Symphony No. 3 in C Major, generally referred to as the "Organ Symphony," was his last major effort in the symphonic form. The work, bearing a dedication to Franz Liszt, was composed for the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and had its initial performance in the British capital under the direction of Saint-Saens on May 19, 1886. The symphony was indeed modern for its day and was orchestrated with the sure hand of an expert. The organ, which gives the symphony its name, is frequently and effectively employed.

The Finale (Maestoso) begins with a sustained C major chord followed by contrapuntal treatment of material vaguely reminiscent of the principal theme of the first movement. Then the initial theme, wholly transformed, is presented by the woodwinds and repeated by the organ with the full strength of the band. There follows a development (Allegro) built on a rhythm of three measures. An episode of a tranquil and pastoral character is twice repeated. A brilliant coda follows, in which the initial theme by a last transformation ends the work; the rhythm of three measures becomes naturally and logically a huge measure of three beats; each beat is represented by a whole note, and 12 quarters form the complete measure. After a fanfare by the trumpets and a solo passage for timpani, the movement finishes, as it began, with a chord in C major for organ and band.

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band


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State Ratings

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Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 523.