Composers Datebook®

Gabriel Pierne

Composers Datebook - Jan. 15, 2024
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Synopsis

On today’s date in 1923, the belated premiere of a new ballet score by French composer Gabriel Pierné took place at the Palais Garnier, the home of the Paris Opera Ballet.

The ballet was finished in 1915, but due to the turmoil of World War I had to wait seven years to be staged.  Also, its lighthearted, even frivolous subject matter would hardly have seemed appropriate during the trauma of wartime, but it perfectly suited the giddy post-war Paris of the 1920s. The ballet was titled Cydalise et le Chèvre-Pied (literally "Cydalise and the Goat-Foot" or "Cydalise and the Satyr") and, like Ravel’s ballet Daphnis et Chloe, featured a cast of nymphs, satyrs and the god Pan.

One excerpt of the ballet, known as "The Entry of the Little Fauns," became a popular concert selection on its own, although the complete score, like most of the other music by Pierné, is rarely performed in concert these days.

Of late, however, more of Pierné’s melodious, well-crafted and oh-so-French scores have found their way to recordings. So anyone curious can sample more of his operas, his choral and symphonic works, and his solo piano and chamber music.

Music Played in Today's Program

Gabriel Pierné (1863-1937) – The Entry of the Little Fauns, from Cydalise et le Chèvre-Pied (Orchestre National de Lille; Darrell Ang, cond.) Naxos 8.5736090 

On This Day

Births

  • 1893 - English composer Ivor Novello (David Ivor Davies), in Cardiff;

  • 1909 - American composer Elie Siegmeister, in New York;

  • 1960 - American composer Aaron Jay Kernis, in Philadelphia;

Deaths

  • 1775 - Italian composer Giovanni Battista Sammartini, age c. 74, in Milan;

Premieres

  • 1732 - Handel: opera "Ezio" in London at the King's Theater in the Haymarket (Gregorian date: Jan. 26);

  • 1890 - Tchaikovsky: ballet, "Sleeping Beauty," at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg (Julian date: Jan. 3);

  • 1923 - Pierné: "Cydalise et le chèvre-pied," at the Paris Opéra;

  • 1924 - Prokofiev: "Chout" Symphonic Suite, Op. 21a, in Brussels, conducted by F. Ruhlmann;

  • 1941 - Messiaen: "Quartet for the End of Time," at Stalag VIII-A, a German prisoner of war camp in Görlitz (Silesia), with the composer at the piano and fellow-prisoners Jean Le Boulaure (violin), Henri Akoka (clarinet) and Etienne Pasquier (cello);

  • 1947 - Korngold: Violin Concerto in D, Op. 35, by the St. Louis Symphony conducted by Vladimir Golschmann, with Jascha Heifetz the soloist;

  • 1958 - Barber: opera "Vanessa" at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Dimtri Mitropoulos conducting;

  • 1976 - Paul Chihara: "Missa Carminum" for a capella chorus, in Los Angeles;

  • 1994 - Zwilich: "Fantasy" for orchestra, by the Long Beach Symphony, JoAnn Falletta conducting;

  • 1998 - Danielpour: "Elegies," in Jacksonville, Fla., by mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade and baritone Thomas Hampson, with the Jacksonville Symphony conducted by Roger Nierenberg;

  • 1998 - Christopher Rouse: "Der gerettete Alberich" (Alberich Redeemed) for percussion and orchestra, by the Cleveland Orchestra conducted by Christoph von Dohnanyi, with Evelyn Glennie the percussion soloist;

Others

  • 1785 - Likely date of the premiere performances of three of Mozart's "Haydn" Quartets (K. 387, 421, and 428), at Mozart's apartment in Vienna, with Haydn present and possibly with Mozart playing the viola.

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About Composers Datebook®

Host John Birge presents a daily snapshot of composers past and present, with timely information, intriguing musical events and appropriate, accessible music related to each.

He has been hosting, producing and performing classical music for more than 25 years. Since 1997, he has been hosting on Minnesota Public Radio's Classical Music Service. He played French horn for the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra and performed with them on their centennial tour of Europe in 1995. He was trained at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Eastman School of Music and Interlochen Arts Academy.

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