Chansons Pyrénées, Set 2
2012. Duration 15' approx.
First performance - August 2012, Harmoniemusik
The second set of Chansons des Pyrénées once again revisits traditional songs that originate from the Pyrénées. The melodies are a richly evocative description of the landscapes in this part of France, and provided much scope for melodic and harmonic exploration.
Prelude: 1. Boune May (“Good Mother”)
The text represents a prayer for the Virgin Mary. The piece is stately and chordal, with a more expressive central section.
Canto: Bèt Cèu de Pau (“The Beautiful Sky of Pau”)
The text is of an exile remembering the sky in Pau, and wishing to see it again before he dies. A gentle and expressive movement with fragments of the melody passed around the ensemble.
Scherzo: Lous tilhoulès (“The boatmen”)
A fast scherzo in contrast to the previous movements. The harmonies are mostly based on triads and each section is punctuated by a horn call. A tillhole is a type of boat used on the river Adour, which runs into Bayonne; this song describes the brave hard-working boatmen rowing across the waters.
Rhapsody-Hymn: Aquéres mountagnes/Liberté (“These Mountains/Liberty”)
'These Mountains' is a kind of anthem for this area of France, a tune very much well-known to all the people there. 'Liberty' further enhances this sentiment; the mountainous people are said to feel quite independent from the rest of France. The closing movement begins solemnly with solo bassoon before building into a majestic coda with bell-tolling effects in the piano.