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Camille Saint-Saëns

Havanaise op. 83

for violin and piano

A beautiful ear worm with Cuban heritage
The beginnings of the Havanaise op. 83 by Camille Saint-Saëns date back to the fall of 1885, when the composer made a concert tour of northern France and Brittany with the violinist Rafael Diaz Albertini (1857–1928). Apparently after one of the concerts Saint-Saëns, in his hotel room before a crackling fire on the hearth, lit on the initial idea for his Havanaise. It may well have been a habanera by Pablo de Sarasate included in the program of their tour, or perhaps Diaz Albertini’s Cuban origins, that prompted him to write a habanera, a Cuban dance known in French as a havanaise.