Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) was a French composer and organist of the Romantic era. A child prodigy, giving his first concert when he was 10 years old, and studying at the Paris Conservatoire. He was then an organist in Paris for twenty years, following which he was a freelance pianist and composer, popular both in Europe and America.
This lesser known work is an arrangement of a concerto-like piece for Flute and Orchestra. In a loose rondo form, the main theme is a decorated scale. Entries of this theme are interspersed with long, almost hymn-like tunes and florid scale and arpeggio patterns. The music passes seamlessly through several keys exploring different moods and aspects of the Flute, reaching a climax almost two thirds of the way in to the piece, before a beautifully calm coda lets the music float away.
This is a piece that deserves to be much better known. As a single movement solo piece, it's a great way for a player to begin to get some experience at playing in an ensemble situation. The solo line is demanding, but not excessively so. The ensemble parts are generally straight forward, first Flute needs to be a confidant strong player.