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Six Pièces romantiques op. 55 (Cécile Chaminade)




1. Primavera : Allegretto – 2. La chaise à porteurs : Allegretto – 3. Idylle arabe : Mouvement modéré de valse – 4. Sérénade d’automne : Andantino – 5. Danse hindoue : Allegro, tempo giusto – 6. Rigaudon : Allegro


Cécile Chaminade composed only two works for piano four hands: her opus 36, Deux Pieces (of which there is also a version for two pianos), and her opus 55, Six Pièces romantiques, probably composed around 1890. The Six pieces are “romantiques” in the sense that they are representative of the “pièce de genre”, a term used to describe a piece inspired by images and subjects that were very popular during the Romantic period in France: nature and exoticism. The poetic qualities of this set, its melodic charm and the variety and refinement of its writing call to mind Chabrier’s Pièces pittoresques (1880-81). Combining the rhythm of the barcarolle with the spirit of the waltz, Primavera (Springtime), together with its elegant lines and subtle harmony, shows a delightful pastoral freshness. La chaise à porteurs (The sedan chair), a delicate march, intended to be played with the dampers on the strings, moves along jauntily over an imperturbable rhythm in the bass. In no. 3, Idylle arabe, discreet modal touches and the arpeggiated chords of some plucked string instrument are the only elements that evoke a distant land, since Arabia here is dancing the waltz! There is nothing melancholy about autumn as represented in no. 4, Sérénade d’automne, in which a gently rocking melody alternates with more fanciful episodes, evoking the sound of a guitar or a mandolin. The exoticism of Danse hindoue is more pronounced than that of Idylle arabe: orientalistic melodic contours, often a static bass line supporting the hypnotic rhythmic intoxication. The last piece, Rigaudon (which has more the features of a gavotte) ends the set with popular strains and ornamentation borrowed from the Baroque harpsichord. Cécile Chaminade also orchestrated three of these pieces: La chaise à porteurs, Sérénade d’automne and Idylle arabe.

    Person - 1
  • CHAMINADE, Cécile (1857-1944)
  • Theme - 1
  • Piano – À quatre mains