Compact Discoveries®
a series of one-hour radio programs produced, written, hosted, and edited by Fred Flaxman
©2007 by Fred Flaxman

Program 128
"More Pleasures of Pierné"


MUSIC:
Pierné: opening of Canzonetta, performed by clarinetist Olivier Dartevelle and pianist Christian Ivaldi [Timpani 1C1107, track 2] [under the following]

Hello and welcome to Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman, and I hope you’ll stay with me for the next hour so that we’ll experience “More Pleasures of Pierné” together. In the background is the French composer’s Canzonetta for clarinet and piano, which I played in its entirety in the first hour of this two-part series. I hope you were able to listen to that program. If you missed it you can still stream it and other Compact Discoveries programs on demand through our web site, compactdiscoveries.com.

MUSIC: fades out

Gabriel Pierné, who was a conductor and organist as well as a composer, lived from 1863, until 1937. In the first hour that I devoted to his music, I played his complete Piano Concerto, the March of the Little Lead Soldiers, the Fantaisie-impromptu for Violin and Piano, the Pastoral for Wind Quintet, the Serenade for Oboe and Harp, and his ballet Giration / Gyration, in addition to his Canzonetta for Clarinet and Piano.

Stay with me for the next hour and you’ll hear Pierné’s Scherzo-Caprice in D for Piano and Orchestra, Suite 1 from his ballet Cydalise et le Chèvre-pied /Cydalise and the Faun, excerpts from his Ballet de Cour / Court Ballet, and his Solo de Concert for bassoon and piano.

Let’s get started with his tuneful Scherzo-Caprice in D Major for Piano and Orchestra. Like the Piano Concerto in the first hour, it is performed by Stephen Coombs with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Ronald Corp on a Hyperion compact disc. It was written in 1890, the same year that Pierné took over from César Franck as organist at the church of Sainte Clotilde in Paris. Coombs writes that the music’s “infectious exuberance and energy surely reflects the optimistic mood prompted by his new post.”

MUSIC: Pierné: Scherzo-Caprice in D Major for Piano and Orchestra, performed by Stephen Coombs with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Ronald Corp [Hyperion CDA67348, track 6] [8:08]

Pianist Stephen Coombs with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Ronald Corp performed the Scherzo-Caprice in D by Gabriel Pierné.

You are listening to “More Pleasures of Pierné” during this hour of Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman.

Up next is a suite from Pierné’s ballet Cydalise et le chèvre-pied / Cydalise and the Faun. The first thing that you should know is that, in this case, as in Debussy’s Afternoon of a Faun, a faun is not a baby dear. These fauns are mythological creatures which are, believe it or not, part men, part goat. The goat part is below the waste and horns on the head.

I’m not going to try to tell you the story of this ballet, because it would take too long and I really don’t think it’s that interesting. I’ll just mention that it involves an old faun and young fauns, nymphs, slaves, dancing lessons, and ballet dancers for a ballet within the ballet.

The ballet was completed in 1915, but not performed until 1923. Its premiere at the Paris Opera resulted in rave reviews. One critic wrote that the score was “incomparable for its abundance, distinction, freshness and craftsmanship.” Another that “our National Academy has at last found in this ballet a work worthy of itself.” I’ll add to that that it certainly does reflect Pierné’s mastery of orchestration.

Like Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, which was written 21 years later, Pierné’s ballet assigned parts to certain instruments or combinations of instruments. The basoon plays the part of the Old Faun; the flutes are his pupils; Styrax is played by the piccolo and clarinet; Cydalise by the divided strings; and the Fountain by the trumpet.

In this 1976 EMI recording, the Orchestre du Théâtre national de l’Opèra de Paris is conducted by Jean-Baptiste Mari.

MUSIC: Pierné: Cydalise et le Chèvre-pied, Suite 1, performed by the Orchestre du Théâtre national de l’Opèra de Paris conducted by Jean-Baptiste Mari [EMI CDM 7 64278 2] [29:24]

Suite No. 1 to Gabriel Pierné’s ballet Cydalise et le Chèvre-pied, performed by the Orchestre du Théâtre national de l’Opèra de Paris conducted by Jean-Baptiste Mari.

You are listening to “More Pleasures of Pierné” on Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman.

[optional one minute break not included in the total timing of the program]

Another Pierné ballet is called Ballet de Cour / Royal Court Ballet. Each dance pays tribute to a sixteenth-century model. The ballet was written originally as a set of keyboard pieces in 1901, putting it well before Ravel’s Tombeau de Couperin and Respighi’s Ancient Airs and Dances. This Klavier recording by Chamber Music Palm Beach uses the composer’s 1905 scoring for wind quintet, string quartet and double bass. We have time for two of the six movements: the fourth is a Pavane and Saltarelle; the sixth is a Passa Mezzo, a boisterous, athletic dance much like a speeded-up pavane, starting fast and getting faster.

MUSIC: Pierné: Ballet de Cour, movements 4 and 6 performed by Chamber Music Palm Beach [Klavier K 11142, tracks 19 and 21] [8:05]

Chamber Music Palm Beach played the fourth and sixth movements from Ballet de Cour / Royal Court Ballet by Gabriel Pierné.

Another of my favorite Pierné pieces is his Solo de Concert for Bassoon and Piano. Let’s listen to that next as performed by bassoonist David Sattler with pianist Christian Ivaldi on a Timpani compact disc.

MUSIC: Pierné: Solo de Concert pour basson et piano, Op. 35, performed by bassoonist David Sattler and pianist Christian Ivaldi [Timpani 1C1107, track 10] [5:34]

Gabriel Pierné’s Solo de Concert for Bassoon and Piano, op. 35, performed by bassoonist David Sattler and pianist Christian Ivaldi.

That concludes this hour of Compact Discoveries with its theme, “More Pleasures by Pierné.” I hope you’ve made some compact discoveries of your own. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman.

MUSIC: Pierné: opening of Canzonetta, performed by clarinetist Olivier Dartevelle and pianist Christian Ivaldi [Timpani 1C1107, track 2] [under the following]

For a complete transcript of this program, including information on all the recordings used, or to hear this or other Compact Discoveries programs streamed on demand, go to www.compactdiscoveries.com on the World Wide Web. This is program number 128.

This program was supported by contributions from three anonymous South Florida donors. Several of the recordings used were supplied by ArkivMusic.com, for which I am very grateful. The idea of selecting Gabriel Pierné as a theme for Compact Discoveries came from Simon Corley in Paris, France, who also suggested two of the selections used in this hour.

Thanks as well to all the public radio stations that carry this program. And thank YOU for listening, and for supporting your local public radio station!

This Compact Discoveries program is a presentation of WPVM, Asheville, North Carolina.

MUSIC: ends at 58:00

PROGRAM ENDS AT 58:00



 
  2009 Compact Discoveries