Paris Sketches

Homages for Wind Band

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Duration: c. 14 minutes

 

Audio: Complete recordings. Please use the play buttons next to the movement titles.

 

Publisher: MAECENAS MUSIC

 

Programme Notes:

This work was commissioned under the auspices of the BASBWE Consortium Commissioning Scheme and first performed by an Honours Band conducted by Clark Rundell  at the 13th Annual BASBWE Conference held at the University of Huddersfield on 17th September 1994.

 

 

Composer's Programme Note:

 

This is my personal tribute to a city I love, and each movement pays homage to some part of the French capital and to other composers who lived, worked or passed through – rather as Ravel did in his own tribute to an earlier master in Le Tombeau de Couperin. Running like a unifying thread through the whole piece is the idea of bells – a prominent feature of Parisian life. The work is cast in four movements -

 

1. Saint Germain-des-Prés

 

The Latin Quarter famous for artistic associations and bohemian lifestyle. This is a dawn prelude haunted by the shade of Ravel: the city awakens with the ever-present sound of morning bells.

 

2. Pigalle

 

The Soho of Paris. This is a 'burlesque with scenes' cast in the mould of a balletic scherzo – humorous in a kind of 'Stravinsky-meets-Prokofiev' way. It is episodic but everything is based on the harmonic figuration of the opening. The bells here are car horns and police sirens!

 

3. Père Lachaise

 

The city's largest cemetery, the final resting place of many a celebrity who once walked its streets. The spirit of Satie's Gymnopédies – themselves a tribute to a still more distant past – is affectionately evoked before the movement concludes with a 'hidden' quotation of the Dies Irae. This is the work's slow movement, the mood is one of softness and delicacy, which I have attempted to match with more transparent orchestration. The bells are gentle, nostalgic, wistful.

 

4.Les Halles

 

A bustling finale with bells triumphant and celebratory. Les Halles is the old market area, a Parisian Covent Garden and, like Pigalle, this is a series of related but contrasted episodes. The climax quotes from Berlioz's Te Deum, which was first performed in 1855 at the church of St Eustache, actually in the district of Les Halles. A gradual crescendo, initiated by the percussion, prefaces the material proper and the work ends with a backward glance at the first movement before closing with the final bars of the Berlioz Te Deum.

 

Instrumentation:

TBC

 

Percussion Requirements:

TBC

 

Performance Notes:

TBC

 

Available Recordings:

To play, press and hold the enter key. To stop, release the enter key.

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Paris Sketches

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James Madison University Wind Symphony

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Mercer Wind Ensemble

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TMEA 1998

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