Digital resources for French Romantic music

Album pour mes petits amis op. 14 (Gabriel Pierné)




1. Pastorale – 2. Farandole – 3. La Veillée de l’ange gardien – 4. Petite gavotte – 5. Chanson d’autrefois – 6. Marche des petits soldats de plomb


In 1887, two years after his return from Rome, Pierné composed these six easy pieces, dedicating the odd numbers to the three daughters of his publisher Alphonse Leduc (Yvonne, Jacqueline and Emma), and the even numbers to the children of his friend, the painter Luc-Olivier Merson (François, the composer’s godson, Madeleine and Frédéric), who was particularly renowned for creating the mosaic in the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur in Montmartre. Although the Album pour mes petits amis evokes the atmosphere and games of the world of childhood, it is also aimed at learning musicians: it does not contain any great technical difficulties and avoids key signatures full of accidentals. However, Pierné employs a broad palette of colours, using all the possibilities afforded by key and mode. Several pieces feature archaistic effects (monodic writing and open fifths in the Pastorale, a pedal note and melody reminiscent of an ancient instrument in the Petite Gavotte). There is a tinge of nostalgia in La Veillée de l’ange gardien, with its four-part choral writing to be played “Andantino religioso”, or in the delicate Chanson d’autrefois. These subtle shadows melt away, however, in the cheerful staccatos of the Farandole, while the fanfares and drumrolls of the Marche des petits soldats de plomb provide the collection with a strong, bright ending. Pierné orchestrated this classical suite himself for a variety of small ensembles.

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  • PIERNÉ, Gabriel (1863-1937)