He once said of himself, "I produce music the way an apple tree produces apples." He was one of the most naturally gifted musicians that ever lived, and his seemingly easy facility for composing lead some to criticize his lack of feeling in some of his compositions. There is a natural virtuosity to a lot of his music, whether it is as lacking in emotion as some contend is a matter of taste.
He wrote five piano concertos and various other pieces for piano and orchestra. Piano concerto No. 5 got the nickname 'Egyptian' because he wrote most of it while traveling in Egypt, and because the work (specifically the 2nd movement) was influenced by Middle-East, Spanish and Javanese music he heard on his travels. Saint-Saëns himself played the premiere of the work in 1896 at a concert that commemorated the 50th anniversary of his debut in 1846.