Violin Concerto No. 3 (Saint-Saëns)

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Violin Concerto
by Camille Saint-Saëns
Camille Saint-Saëns in 1900 by Pierre Petit.jpg
KeyB minor
CatalogueOp. 61
Composed1880 (1880)
ScoringViolin & Orchestra
DateOctober 1880 (1880-10)

The Violin Concerto No. 3 in B minor, Op. 61, by Camille Saint-Saëns is a piece for violin and orchestra written in March 1880. Saint-Saëns dedicated the concerto to fellow composer-virtuoso Pablo de Sarasate, who played the solo part at the premiere in October 1880. The work is in three movements:

Even though the third (and last) of Saint-Saëns' violin concertos seems to impose fewer technical demands on the soloist than its predecessors, its melodic invention and impressionistic subtlety present significant interpretive challenges. This stress is most notable in the second movement and the chorale of the finale, which is reminiscent of the conclusion of the Fourth Piano Concerto. Possibly because of this, the Sarasate concerto along with the Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, Op. 28, and the Havanaise, Op. 83 have endured as the major concertante works for violin by Saint-Saëns still heard regularly today.


The work is scored for solo violin, 2 flutes/piccolo, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani and strings.


  • Fallon, Daniel M.; Ratner, Sabina Teller (2001). Sadie, Stanley; Tyrrell, John, eds. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. xxii (2 ed.). London: Macmillan. pp. 124–135.
  • Vachon, Jean-Pascal. Liner notes to Tapiola Sinfonietta recording. (BIS-CD-1470)

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