Wolf-Ferrari starts with a bubbling and effervescent overture that hints to us of the comic treat ahead of us in the one-act opera. One commentator pointed out that with Susanna smoking in the modern manner and her older husband suspecting her of infidelity in a traditional manner, once he discovers her ‘secret’ he decides to become modern himself and join her in smoking. This isn’t the traditional marriage we normally see in operas, but a very modern idea of the companionable marriage. <br/><br/>
The title, <em>Crépuscules</em>, Twlight, presents us with four pieces that are impressionistic in their mood. We can hear bits of Delius, bits of Ravel, bits of Fauré all making their appearance through the work. With these clear signals, the work itself is indicative of how influential Impressionism, which started in the hands of Debussy, was to French music at the turn of the century. <br/><br/>
- Paul Dukas’ La Plainte, au loin, du faune…, his homage to one of the best known of Debussy’s works, the Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun. Reduced to a piano work, we have a work that brings forth the elegant lines and longing in Debussy’s signature work.
- In 1894, Claude Debussy (1862-1918) used Mallarmé’s poem as the inspiration for his symphonic poem and it is the opening line with the solo flute that has come to define not only this work but also Debussy’s musical Impressionism.
- In writing for violin, viola, and cello, it’s difficult to keep the voices connected due to the dissimilarities in the range and sound of the three instruments. In listening to Thieriot’s composition, you hear how he compensates for the different ranges by giving each instrument distinctive melodic lines.
- The titles alone speak to Griffes’ ability to create imaginary landscapes and these miniatures evoke a quiet lake at twilight, a fantasy valley, and the winds that bring dreams. His poetic ideas are perfectly evoked in this work. The work was arranged in 1915 for chamber ensemble and in 1919 for orchestra.
- In 1893, Nepomuceno created his Symphony in G minor, one of the earliest symphonies written in Brazil. The work shows Nepomuceno’s technical mastery of the compositional methods he learned all over Europe and, in particular, the influence of Brahms.
- The work, originally written for piano, shines in an orchestral arrangement. Slowly the city rises and comes to life – we can hear the daily sounds of bells ringing, priests chanting, the organ sounding, but it’s all in the distance. In the orchestral arrangement, we hear this as both lighter and more solemn, as the sounds carry us across the water.