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Aubade for violin and cello op. 133

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Andante quasi adagio – Andantino

Composed in 1874 and published by Hamelle in 1892, Benjamin Godard’s Aubade is dedicated to ‘the composer’s friend’ A. Lefort. This colourful piece, written in a popular, picturesque vein whose folkloric inflections might be compared to those of Dvorák’s ‘American’ Quartet, is a lively duo according total equality to the cello and the violin. The first movement exemplifies this distribution of roles. It opens with a pentatonic melody, ornamented in a manner suggesting improvised music and stated by the violin accompanied by cello pizzicatos imitating the sound of a guitar – a texture typical of the aubade, a musical genre that owes its name to the fact that it was originally performed at dawn (French aube) beneath the windows of a loved one, frequently on the mandolin or the guitar. The instruments soon exchange parts, as the theme shifts to the cello and the plucked-string figuration to the violin. The texture changes radically in the second section of the movement, which features double and triple stopping, thus giving the two instruments a sonority of great opulence. We also encounter in this passage the warm writing for the low register of the cello that is characteristic of Godard’s Cello Sonata in D minor. With its offbeat accents, its motifs of rapid rising and falling staccato scales and its springing rhythms, the joyous, playful Andantino that forms the second movement is pleasantly voluble in expression.


publication date : 25/09/23

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