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Music by white composers; past, present, future.

"Moment blanc"

This topic contains 2 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  Oscar 7 months, 2 weeks ago.

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    I – Franz Liszt – Magyarorszag – Les Préludes – 1854 – S97 – Berliner Philharmoniker – Herbert von Karajan

    The full title of the piece, “Les préludes (d’après Lamartine)” refers to an Ode from Alphonse de Lamartine’s Nouvelles méditations poétiques of 1823.

    However, the piece was originally conceived as the overture to Les quatre éléments, settings of poems by Joseph Autran, which itself was drawn from music of the four choruses of the cycle.



    II – Camille Saint-Saëns – France – Danse macabre – 1874 – op.40

    The composition is based upon a poem by Henri Cazalis, on an old French superstition. According to it, “Death” appears at midnight every year on Halloween. Death has the power to call forth the dead from their graves to dance for him while he plays his fiddle (represented by a solo violin with its E-string tuned to an E-flat in an example of scordatura tuning). His skeletons dance for him until the first break of dawn, when they must return to their graves until the next year.

    Zig et zig et zig, la mort en cadence
    Frappant une tombe avec son talon,
    La mort à minuit joue un air de danse,
    Zig et zig et zag, sur son violon.

    Le vent d’hiver souffle, et la nuit est sombre,
    Des gémissements sortent des tilleuls ;
    Les squelettes blancs vont à travers l’ombre
    Courant et sautant sous leurs grands linceuls,

    Zig et zig et zig, chacun se trémousse,
    On entend claquer les os des danseurs,
    Un couple lascif s’assoit sur la mousse
    Comme pour goûter d’anciennes douceurs.

    Zig et zig et zag, la mort continue
    De racler sans fin son aigre instrument.
    Un voile est tombé ! La danseuse est nue !
    Son danseur la serre amoureusement.

    La dame est, dit-on, marquise ou baronne.
    Et le vert galant un pauvre charron – Horreur !
    Et voilà qu’elle s’abandonne
    Comme si le rustre était un baron !

    Zig et zig et zig, quelle sarabande!
    Quels cercles de morts se donnant la main !
    Zig et zig et zag, on voit dans la bande
    Le roi gambader auprès du vilain!

    Mais psit ! tout à coup on quitte la ronde,
    On se pousse, on fuit, le coq a chanté
    Oh ! La belle nuit pour le pauvre monde !
    Et vivent la mort et l’égalité !



    III – Александр Бородин/Aleksandr Borodin – Россия/Rossiya – Половецкие пляски/Polovetskie plyaski (Князь Игорь/Knyaz Igor) – 1890 – Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (Genève) – Ernest Ansermet

    The composer adapted the libretto from the Ancient Russian epic The Lay of Igor’s Host, which recounts the campaign of Rus’ prince Igor Svyatoslavich against the invading Cuman (“Polovtsian”) tribes in 1185. He also incorporated material drawn from two medieval Kievan chronicles. The opera was left unfinished upon the composer’s death in 1887 and was edited and completed by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Alexander Glazunov.

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