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About this Piece

Though in spirit like the pieces that Saint-Saëns wrote for Sarasate, this Havanaise (1887) was written for the Cuban violinist Rafael Diaz Albertini. Though it plays deftly with the habanera rhythm of Cuba, Saint-Saëns reportedly got the melodic idea for it staring into a fire on a cold night in Brest, listening to the crackling wood burn. It is a sunny, winsome piece nonetheless, though it was turned into something darker as the main theme for Roman Polanski’s 1999 thriller The Ninth Gate.

—John Henken