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Orient et Occident (ed Reynish)

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Camille Saint-Saëns

Camille Saint-Saëns (ed. Reynish and Perry)

Subtitle: Grande Marche for Wind Band

This work bears the designation Opus 25.

General Info

Year: 1869 / 1995
Duration: c. 8:10
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Maecenas Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - £62.50   |   Score Only (print) - £18.50


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon (optional)I
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
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
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Snare Drum
  • Triangle


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The Great Paris Exhibition introduced Western Europe to Eastern culture, and gave Saint-Saëns the idea for this splendid march. It combines the fluency, freshness and craftsmanship of his best writing with an endearing charm not often associated with his later music. Hokum, of course, but an absolute delight.

- 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


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Baylor University (Waco, Tx.) Symphonic Band (David Montgomery, conductor) - 22 March 2021
  • Lawrence University (Appleton, Wisc.) Symphonic Band (Matthew Arau, conductor) – 22 April 2017

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Perusal score
  • Saint-Saens, C.; Perry, B.; Reynish, T. (1995). Orient et occident Op. 25 grande marche (1869) [score]. Maecenas Music: Manchester, U.K.