About a month ago Naxos released the second volume of compositions for violin and piano by Camille Saint-Saëns. Once again the performers are violinist Fanny Clamagirand and pianist Vanya Cohen. It is unlikely that there will be further volumes, since the only two pieces for violin and piano on the Wikipedia page of Saint-Saëns’ compositions are an 1859 “Caprice brilliant” in B minor and a transcription of themes from Victor Alphonse Duvernoy’s 1896 opera Hellé in the form of a nocturne, composed in 1897. Neither of these works were published.
On the other hand, there are pieces that were not originally composed for the violin. The most familiar of these would be the “Swan” movement from The Carnival of the Animals, in an arrangement published for cello with piano accompaniment. There is also a five-movement suite for cello and piano, published in 1862 as Opus 16. Both of these are given violin performances on this second CD, leading me to conjecture that Clamagirand was stretching things to fill out the recording. On the other hand she has also taken the trouble to include two movements from a sonata begun around 1850 (when Saint-Saëns would have been around fifteen years old) and never completed. This item does not appear at all on the Wikipedia page.
For the most part the selections on this second volume seem to have been composed for a salon setting. Even the relatively late second sonata in E-flat major (Opus 102, composed in 1896) has both the intimacy and affability of salon rhetoric. This is a major contrast from the first sonata (on the first volume in this set) in D minor, published in 1865 as Opus 75. As a result the second volume does much to establish Saint-Saëns’ musical values as “old fashioned;” but one can take a fair amount of comfort in that “old fashioned” rhetoric without necessarily embracing it.