Given Saint-Saëns' talents both as pianist and composer, it stood to reason that he would engage with the piano concerto genre early on. But he gave a clear renunciation of the "concerto brilliant" that was dominant in France at that time, declaring instead that "the solo part of a concerto must be set out, and treated, like a dramatic role." He realised this concept of a "symphonic concerto" in this second piano concerto, composed in 1868. The solo part is technically very challenging, and at the same time closely bound up with the orchestra.
The piano reduction for this edition is based on the composer's own version for two pianos.