You know whose music I appreciate more and more with each passing day?
You know the piece that triggered this little bit of self-reflection?
The final movement of his "Suite algerienne," the Marche militaire française.
Back to Algiers. In the picturesque bazaars and Moorish cafes, there is the redoubled step of a French regiment, whose warlike accents contrast with the bizarre rhythms and languid melodies of the Orient.
As a fun (if aurally unspectacular) bonus, here's a version of the composer performing his own piano arrangement of the piece. Scratchy? Surely. But I love these kinds of things!
And here's the whole Suite, performed in all its orchestral glory.
A four-movement symphonic poem, Suite Algérienne was inspired by Saint-Saëns' trips to Algeria, then a French colony on the continent of Africa. Although, no authentic Algerian music exists in this piece, Saint-Saëns used melodic tendencies of the native Algerian culture.