This first publication of the Sonata in D major is based on Bärenreiter’s Camille Saint-Saëns OEuvres instrumentales complètes. Although we know from correspondence that two complete autographs existed, only an incomplete autograph source containing the 1st movement and part of the 2nd movement, which breaks off, have come down to us. In his final work for violoncello Saint-Saëns juxtaposes highly rhythmical episodes with more poetic ones. These contrasts are reinforced by bold shifts of harmonic coloring and a highly inventive thematic development.
These movements are destined to become standards for cellists.