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Scènes italiennes op. 126 (Benjamin Godard)




Sérénade florentine – Sicilienne – Tarentelle


Continuing a tradition inaugurated in the first half of the nineteenth century by composers marked by their study tours to Italy (from Mendelssohn to Berlioz), Benjamin Godard offers us in his Scènes italiennes three musical portraits of the peninsula, seen through the prism of three places, each of which corresponds to a musical genre. The serenade, originally performed in the open air, became associated in the nineteenth century with the expression of amorous feeling (Schubert’s Ständchen) or a certain sadness (Tchaikovsky’s Sérénade mélancolique). Here the buoyant discourse, based on swirling motifs, has a dancelike character that this movement shares with the other two pieces in the set. The Sicilienne, characterised by its dotted rhythm in triple time which has inspired composers since the Baroque period, is more melancholic in mood, like Fauré’s piece of the same name. The model for the third of these Scènes italiennes, the tarantella, is a wild dance from the region of Naples, distinguished by its irregular rhythm and its frenetic character. In the nineteenth century, its fast, voluble tempo often became a pretext for a display of instrumental virtuosity (as in the tarantellas of David Popper for cello and piano or Saint-Saëns for flute, clarinet and orchestra). The set of Scènes italiennes was composed in 1890-91 and published by Schoenewerk. It seems to have circulated widely, as is demonstrated by its presence in the catalogue of several American libraries in the early years of the twentieth century.

    Person - 1
  • GODARD, Benjamin (1849-1895)
  • Themes - 2
  • Piano – La « pièce de genre » pianistique
  • Piano – Fin-de-siècle Romantic Piano Music