The piece was written for solo violin and orchestra. It is a symphonic intermezzo from the opera Thais by Massenet.
It is considered to be one of the great encore pieces; world-class violin soloists such as Joshua Bell, Sarah Chang, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Itzhak Perlman, and Maxim Vengerov have performed the piece as soloists with major orchestras throughout the world. The Meditation has been transcribed for violin and piano and for other instruments as well. The cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Kathryn Stott have recorded a version for cello and piano.