Saturday, 3 August 2013


“Music causes us to think eloquently.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

For music Saturday, a little of the Music of Chabrier. Alexis Emmanuel Chabrier (January 18, 1841 – September 13, 1894) was a French Romantic composer and pianist. Although known primarily for two of his orchestral works, “España” and “Joyeuse marche”, he left an important corpus of operas (including the increasingly popular “L’ étoile”), songs, and piano music as well.

His works, though small in number, are of very high quality, and he was admired by composers as diverse as Debussy, Ravel, Richard Strauss, Satie, Schmitt, Stravinsky, and the group of composers known as Les six. Stravinsky alluded to “España” in his ballet “Petrushka”, Ravel wrote that the opening bars of “Le Roi Malgré Lui” changed the course of harmony in France, Poulenc wrote a biography of the composer, and Richard Strauss conducted the first staged performance of Chabrier’s incomplete opera “Briséïs”.

Chabrier was also associated with some of the leading writers and painters of his time. He was especially friendly with the painters Claude Monet and Édouard Manet, and collected Impressionist paintings before Impressionism became fashionable. A number of such paintings from his personal collection are now housed in some of the world’s leading art museums.

Here are the four orchestrated pieces of his “Suite Pastoral: I: Idylle; II: Danse villageoise and in the second video, III: Sous bois; IV: Scherzo-valse. These are pieces from the piano suite “Dix Pièces Pittoresques”, the Ulster Orchestra is conducted by Yan Pascal Tortelier.

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