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Interludes (for solo piano; 32 mins.)

Goss, SM (2008) Interludes (for solo piano; 32 mins.) [Composition]

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INTERLUDES (2008) for solo piano Brian Dunce’s paintings unveil some of the sources that lie embedded in Debussy’s Préludes and offer additional references of their own. My Interludes draw on many of these references: highlighting some, hinting at others. The first interlude, The Gust of Wind, tempers Debussy’s Le vent dans la plaine and Ce qu’a vu le vent d’ouest with the gentle summer breeze of Renoir’s The Gust of Wind (a painting referenced in Brian’s La fille aux cheveux de lin painting). I am that merry wanderer of the night is the title of the Arthur Rackham illustration that Debussy used as a source for La danse de Puck. The two Spanish-flavoured interludes, Colloque Sentimental and Le Mezzetin relate to Brian’s La sérénade interrompue canvas, which in turn, is based on Watteau’s painting Le Mezzetin. Watteau was a master of tragic irony – the pathetic guitar player in this painting is faintly absurd in his richly coloured Commedia dell’Arte costume, yet we are left in no doubt that the hopelessness of his love (symbolized by the cold stone statue facing away from him) has the intense pain of the loss of life itself. The musical material for the Colloque Sentimental interlude comes from Debussy’s La Puerto del Vino (from Préludes, Deuxième Livre) and my Le Mezzetin interlude makes subtle references to Bizet’s Carmen. In his book Images, the Piano Music of Claude Debussy, Paul Roberts conjectures that La fille aux cheveux de lin might have been at least part-inspired by Wordsworth’s The Solitary Reaper. “Debussy, whose identification with exotic, faraway scenes is manifested throughout the Préludes, would have found Wordsworth’s evocation of the girl’s solitary song, ‘Breaking the silence of the seas / Among the farthest Hebrides’ deeply satisfying”. The Solitary Reaper is a drastically stylised poem. Wordsworth simplifies it by omitting particularities. The girl is seen only in the bold outline of essential gesture. In the interlude Breaking the silence of the seas, I took Wordsworth’s poem as a starting point and also borrowed and adapted material from the Pastorale movement of Debussy’s Sonata for flute, viola and harp to recreate the pastoral atmosphere of Brian’s La fille aux cheveux de lin painting. The next three interludes form a triptych. Baudelaire’s pantoun Harmonie du Soir was the source for Debussy’s mysterious prelude Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l’air du soir. Debussy’s music suggests the faded, half-grasped memory of a popular waltz, which comes and goes throughout the piece. In Scented Waltz, I wanted to reassemble Debussy’s elusive dance and place it firmly in the foreground. The Hatter brings Minstrels forward to the time of Miles Davis – who is pictured in Brian’s Minstrels canvas. Nocturne in Blue and Silver alludes to Debussy’s Voiles prelude, but also extends the Miles Davis connection with a veiled reference to Bill Evans’ Blue in Green from Davis’ Kind of Blue album. Frozen Lake (Nederland, Colorado) draws on the musical material and desolate atmosphere of Debussy’s Des pas sur la neige to portray the bleak emptiness and solitude of the Rocky Mountains. Stephen Goss © 2008 First performance 15th March 2008, Riverhouse Barn, Walton-on-Thames, UK. Published by Cadenza Music © 2008.UK. Recorded on Préludes and Interludes Cadenza Music CACD1208

Item Type: Composition
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Department of Music and Media
Authors :
Goss, SM
Date : 2008
Funders : Graham Caskie with funds from The RC Sherriff Trust
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 23 Aug 2012 11:22
Last Modified : 05 Mar 2019 10:14

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