Camille Saint-Saëns showed all characteristics of a
musical prodigy: he started playing the piano, when he
was three years of age and before he was ten (when he
made his formal début at the Salle Pleyel in Paris) he
had recieved composition lessons and instruction on the
organ. His long life was musically very successful, not
only as piano vituoso, but also as composer.
Saint Saëns composed his Feuillet d?Album [Album
Leaflet] for piano four hands (Opus 81) in November
1887 and dedicated the piece to the young pianist
Rachel Léon, whose parents were friends of his.
The piece was published in its present form one year
later, in April 1888, with the name of Paul Taffanel
(1844-1908), the flautist and leader of the Société des
Instruments à vent, on the title page as the
Album Leaf was a popular title in the Romantic Era in
music for a short character piece, usually for piano.
Saint-Saëns, of course, wrote many short pieces, all of
impeccable workmanship and generally with charming
melodies and uncomplicated spirit. This one was written
in 1887 for piano duet. Soon thereafter Saint-Saëns
authorized a version for flute and piano by his friend,
the younger composer Paul Taffanel. In either version
it is a highly enjoyable little piece, less than four
minutes long, rather in the style of Charles Gounod.