The great American cellist Evangeline Benedetti works with Danielle Akta on the second movement of Saint-Saëns' Cello Concerto No. 1 in a master class at the Villa Sandra Lesa.
Saint-Saëns' first cello concerto has long been one of his most popular pieces, but around the time of its creation, both the work and its composer were still on the edges of the mainstream French music scene. The concerto's January 1873 premiere as part of the Concerts du Conservatoire series only took place because of the request of the established cellist Auguste Tolbecque, a member of a distinguished family of French-Belgian musicians. The melodious and innovative work is notable for its cyclical single-movement structure, likely inspired by Saint-Saëns' contact with Franz Liszt during his tenure as organist at the Église de la Madeleine.