The close of the nineteenth century, la belle époque… A time of luxuriant flowering of French culture, was conducive to the production of excellent musical works. Among the most brilliant composers of this period is Gabriel Fauré, whose famous Pavane, Op. 50, of 1887, opens the concert program. Fauré composed this piano miniature inspired by the ceremonial character of a court dance of Spanish origin. The composer could not have foreseen that this inconspicuous piece would become an inspiration for numerous arrangements for various instrumental ensembles, including brass quintet.
The fame enjoyed today by the musical themes from Georges Bizet’s opera Carmen can be described as equally unexpected. After all, the work’s premiere, which took place in 1875, was received coolly, and nowadays the title belongs to the iron repertoire of opera houses all over the world. Although the suite’s most famous fragments can be heard in a variety of ensembles, it is the arrangement for aerophones, which will be heard during tonight’s concert, that offers a unique opportunity to enjoy the composer’s famous melodies anew.
Less popular today, however, is Paul Taffanel’s Wind Quintet in G Minor (1876). It should be emphasised, however, that to this distinguished Parisian flutist we owe one of the few late-Romantic quintets originally written for wind instruments. Alluding to the earlier masters, the composer retains the classical three-part formal arrangement. The work impresses with its melodic inventiveness, interesting harmony, flowing style and skilful use of the timbral and technical possibilities of individual instruments.
- Gabriel Fauré: Pavane Op. 50 (arranged by Ray Thompson)
- Georges Bizet: Carmen Suite (arranged by Bill Holcombe, Bill Holcombe Jr.)
- I. Prelude
- II. Habanera
- III. Carmen Fantasia
- Paul Taffanel: Wind Quintet in G Minor
- I. Allegro con moto
- II. Andante
- III. Vivace
Concert online on the YouTube channel of the Polish Royal Opera.