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Soirs étrangers five pieces for cello and piano op. 56

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Musical ensemble:
Instrument(s) :

Grenade (Andante moderato) –Sur le Léman (Adagio) – Venise (Allegretto moderato) – Steppe canadien (Adagio) – Poissons chinois (Vivace)

The modest ambition of these genre pieces dedicated to five cellists of varying stature (Jean Vaugeois, Roger Boulmé, Nelly Gauthier, Paul Bazelaire and Gregor Piatigorsky) is in sharp contrast to the austere image presented by the composer of the sombre, powerful Piano Quintet or the passionate Cello Sonata. However, in the 1920s, even Franck’s most devout disciples sought less serious inspiration: like his friend d’Indy, or like Ropartz, Vierne showed he was not unaware of the virtues of simplicity in these pieces dated “Lausanne, August-September 1928”. With some degree of humour, in fact, because Vierne seems to have been playing with the idea of cheap, colour prints in these pieces: by using a dance rhythm to conjure up Grenada (Grenade), the graphic, acoustic suggestion of rowing oars for Lake Geneva (Le Léman), a barcarolle for Venice… It could perhaps be said that, since Couperin, the French tradition has proved that courting the dangers of banality stimulates inventiveness, and that sublimated clichés simply provide an opportunity to stand out. Proud Grenade trembles with ardour and mystery. The shores of Lake Geneva (Le Léman) are lined with a seamless melody, shimmering with unusual harmonies. In Venise, the gondolier from Madrid or Naples knows the meaning of variation. The incantatory Steppe canadien (Canadian Steppes) is like a prayer in the face of infinity. Finally, the convoluted depiction of Chinese fish on lacquerware (Poissons chinois) playfully becomes a perpetual motion in semiquavers.



publication date : 25/09/23

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