Paris-born Charles Camille Saint-Saëns was a child
prodigy, composing his first piece for piano at the age
of three. He was a private student of Gounod and
entered the Paris Conservatory at age 13. Saint-Saëns
had total recall; any book he read or tune he heard was
forever committed to his memory.
The Trois Préludes et Fugues, Op 99 were written in
1894 and are Saint-Saëns' first significant organ
pieces for nearly thirty years. Dedicated to Widor,
Guilmant and Gigout respectively. They combine
characterful preludes with well-worked fugues which
Saint-Saëns expressed some hesitation in writing. He
was clearly satisfied with the results however as he
included them in his 1899 recital in front of the
academics at Trinity College, Cambridge. Preludes Nos 1
and 2 are both gentle and graceful.