Orient et Occident

From Wind Repertory Project
Camille Saint-Saëns

Camille Saint-Saëns (ed. David Whitwell)

Subtitle: Op. 25 for Band

General Info

Year: 1869 / 2014
Duration: c. 8:05
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Maxime's Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) – AUS $100.00   |   Score Only (print) – AUS $35.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II-III
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Snare Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Gong
  • Triangle


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

This original composition for band was composed for a gala evening of the Union Centrale des Beaux-Arts in October 1869, which was concerned with the relationship of art and industry and featured an exhibition of oriental art. The composition was dedicated to his friend, Theodore Biais. A later performance, with the composer conducting, was given at the World Fair in Paris on 21 October 1878.

This modern edition by David Whitwell includes a few important additions which the composer made in later editions, including the addition of timpani.

- Program Note from publisher

In the style of a “grand concert march,” Orient et Occident encompasses the musical stereotypes of the East and West as known by Europeans of the time. Completed in 1869, it was the first of four original works that Saint-Saëns composed for band. His last such composition, Hail California, was premiered by the Sousa Band in 1915 at the Panama Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. The premiere of Orient et Occident took place at a gala celebration of the relationship between arts and industry and was featured at an exhibition of oriental art. The composition is dedicated to Theodore Blais, a close friend of Saint-Saëns and the manufacturer of church ornaments. Forty-seven years after completing the version for band, Saint-Saëns transcribed the work for orchestra.

This composition begins with the strong march rhythms characteristic of the West. The brass and clarinets are prominent and progress into a processional legato. The central section is dedicated to the Orient, which we recognize as North Africa and the Near and Middle East. Saint-Saëns employs the oboe, clarinet, and flute with Moorish rhythms over light percussive accents from drums, cymbals, and triangles to convey the metaphor of Eastern musical style. The styles of the East and West are melded together for the grand finale that reasserts the introductory theme of the West.

- Program Note by Roy Stahle for the Foothill Symphonic Winds concert program, 8 December 2013

Although Saint-Saëns did not visit Egypt and Algeria until his later years, the assimilation of exotic styles is an important component in his music (an excellent example is his Fifth Piano Concerto). The central section is a moderato with a unison melody typical of nineteenth-century French balletic and operatic forays into the Orient. The “Occident” is characterized by a fine, sweeping melody of great energy, followed by a trio which might have been written by a British march composer. The main thematic material returns in a brief fugato, leading to a restatement of the opening material but treated with greater urgency and combined with the oriental material.

- Program Note from Baylor University Symphonic Band concert program, 22 March 2021

For Monsieur Théodore Biais.

- Program Note from score


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Conservatorio Superior de Música "Manuel Castillo" (Sevilla, Spain) OSC (Cosimo Colazzo, conductor) - 19 april 2023
  • California State University Northridge Wind Ensemble (Emily Moss, conductor) – 17 March 2022 (CBDNA 2022 Western/Northwestern Conference, Tacoma, Wash.)
  • San Luis Obispo (Calif.) Wind Orchestra (Jennifer Martin, conductor) – 24 March 2018
  • University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Wind Orchestra (Terence Milligan, conductor) – 16 September 2016
  • California State University, Northridge, Wind Ensemble (Lawrence Stoffel, conductor) – 8 October 2015
  • University of Toronto (Ont., Can.) Wind Symphony (Tomy Gomes, conductor) – 7 October 2015
  • Foothill Symphonic Winds (Los Altos, Calif.) (David Bruce Adams, conductor) - 8 December 2013
  • Strasbourg Conservatory of Music (Strasbourg, France), Orchestre à vents (Miguel Etchegoncelay, conductor) - 24 March 2012

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Saint-Saens, C.; Whitwell, D. (2014) Orient et Occident: Opus 25 [score]. Maxime's Music: Australia.