In 1892, a theatre manager in Paris, France, asked French organist, pianist, composer and conductor Charles-Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921) to write incidental music for the production of a play by the French poet, actor and playwright Jean-Baptiste Polequin (aka Moliere, 1622-1673).
Articles on Wikipedia tell that Saint-Saens was too busy to take on the proposition. He recommended his friend and former student, Gabriel Faure (1845-1924), also a pianist, organist and composer, as well as a teacher in France.
Faure composed the short orchestral piece Sicilienne in 1893, but the play’s production was never realized as the theatre went bankrupt. He rearranged the work for piano and cello in 1898, incorporating it into music he was writing for the English debut of another play, Pelleas et Melisande, by Belgian poet, essayist and playwright Maurice Maeterlinck (1862-1949).
Had Faure not reused the music, might it have been discarded and never heard? It’s a lovely piece that will be familiar to many of you. I think that learning about its journey makes it more unique and special.
Faure also set Sicilienne as a suite for full orchestra in 1909. And more recently, Japan’s Takatsugu Muramatsu (b. 1978) arranged the piece for guitar and flute.
Today’s selection is a recording of Muramatsu’s arrangement, played by Japanese flutist and model Cocomi (b. 2001) and classical guitarist Milos Karadaglic (b. 1983) of Montenegro, released as a classical single in March 2022.
Now you know a little about why this is My Song of the Day for Today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.
Here is the audio from the Cocomi YouTube topic channel: