Budapest – a fine city. Formerly a provincial backwater made up of three small towns (Buda, Pest and Obuda), at the turn of the 20th century it was Europe’s fastest growing metropolis and a symbol of Hungarian national pride, the population ballooning from around 300,000 in 1870 to over a million in 1910.
The Carnival of the Animals
The attitude of the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw towards Saint-Saëns’ music was fairly typical for the time. He accused him of plagiarism, saying that if Bach, Meyerbeer and Gounod were taken out of the scores, all that would remain would be “nothing but graceful knick-knacks, barcarolles, serenades, ballets and the like”.