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KIMMEL CENTER PRESENTS

VERIZON HALL
TUESDAY, MARCH 22
8PM
SOVEREIGN BANK WORLD POP MIX

SIR JAMES GALWAY, FLUTE


LADY JEANNE GALWAY, FLUTE
PHILLIP MOLL, PIANO
POULENC
Sonata for Flute and Piano
Allegro malinconico
Cantilena: Assez lent
Presto giocoso

DEBUSSY
La fille aux cheveux de lin
Clair de lune
En bateau

WIDOR
Suite for Flute and Piano, Op. 34, No. 1
Moderato
Scherzo: Allegro vivace
Romance: Andantino
Finale: Vivace
Intermission

FAUR
Fantasy for Flute and Piano, Op. 79

GAUBERT
Nocturne and Allegro scherzando

FRANZ AND KARL DOPPLER


Hungarian Fantasy for Two Flutes and Piano, Op. 35
With Lady Jeanne Galway

TAFFANEL
Grand Fantasy on Themes from Mignon

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Tonights program offers an opportunity to


become immersed in the distinctive sounds
of French flute music of the 19th and 20th
centuries (with one Austro-Hungarian addition). All of our six French composers lived
and worked in Paris for a significant portion
of their careers and most were associated at
some point with the Paris Conservatory
Widor and Faur taught there, Faur also
held the post of director from 1905 to
1920; Taffanel and Gaubert both studied
and taught there, Gaubert having been
Taffanels prize student; and Debussy studied there and later was appointed to the
Conservatorys advisory board by Faur.
Poulenc was to have studied there, but
World War I upset his plans; he did study
with Conservatory-educated pianist
Ricardo Vies, who championed the music
of Debussy, Ravel, and Satie, one of
Poulencs closest associates.
What makes the music of our French
composers invisibly connected is not only a
common heritage, but a shared understanding of the special lyrical and pastoral qualities of the flute sound, together with its
capacity for silvery virtuosity and caprice.
Many more subtle connections reveal themselves upon hearing tonights pieces as a
groupturns of melodic phrase, harmonic
progressions, or accompaniment patterns.
We begin with Poulenc, our most recent
representative, whose great Flute Sonata,
nevertheless, shows its great indebtedness
to the 19th century.

FRANCIS POULENC
(b. Paris, France, 1899; d. Paris, France, 1963)
Sonata for Flute and Piano
Poulenc stated in a letter of 1942
I know perfectly well that Im not one of
those composers who have made harmonic
innovations like Igor [Stravinsky], Ravel, or
Debussy, but I think theres room for new
music that doesnt mind using other peoples
chords. Wasnt that the case with Mozart
and Schubert?
His approach to tonality, based on triadic
harmonies and fleeting discords, his
Neoclassicism in general, and his humor
and simplicity made it hard for his critics
during the first half of his career to consider

him a serious composer. Gradually opinions


have shifted: Poulencs simplicity is no
longer taken as a sign of lack of technique
or absence of emotion. Poulencs style, of
course, underwent certain changesa kind
of neo-Romanticism in the 1940s and a lyrical
religious infusion in his late yearsbut he
always retained something of his original
style, which perhaps most epitomized the
ideals of Les Six (a group of brash young
composers in Paris in the early 1920s).
The Flute Sonata was written between
December 1956 and March 1957, the first in
a cycle of woodwind sonatas that Poulenc
felt the urge to compose late in his life. He
completed the Clarinet and Oboe Sonatas
in 1962, working quickly because though
apparently healthy and robust, he had been
having thoughts of death. He died suddenly
of a heart attack in 1963, without having
written a bassoon sonata.
While he was composing the Flute
Sonata, his recently completed opera
Dialogues des Carmlites was still very
much on his mindits premiere took place
January 26, 1957. While it may not be surprising to find traces of the opera in the
Sonata, the extent to which this occurs
prompted Poulenc scholar Keith Daniel,
who traced the motivic similarities, to
write: Rarely has a composer in this century unblushingly used so many common
motives in two of his works. Awareness of
the shared motives detracts not one bit
from this delightful Sonata.
Poulenc had developed a general structure
in his early chamber works that he adhered
to in the Flute Sonata and the Clarinet Sonata:
a moderate first movement in a kind of
A-B-A form, a slow middle movement in a
contrasting key, and a jolly rondo third
movement containing a reference to the
first movement. In the Flute Sonata this
reference occurs with the recall of the
slightly melancholy B section of the first
movement a bit before the final rondo
statement. In addition Poulenc employs a
motive characteristic of the first movement
in two of the rondo sections as another unifying feature. This motive is itself a slight
variation of the pieces opening.

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CLAUDE DEBUSSY
(b. St. Germaine-en-Laye, France, 1862;
d. Paris, France, 1918)
La fille aux cheveux de lin, Clair de lune,
En bateau
This evenings selection of Debussy pieces
shows a common thread in that all three
originated as piano piecesLe fille aux
cheveux de lin (The girl with the flaxen
hair) as the eighth in Debussys first book
of Preludes, Clair de lune (Moonlight) as
the third in the Suite bergamasque, and En
bateau (On a boat) as the first in the Petite
Suite for piano duet. Arranged for flute and
piano, these pieces present such a natural
opportunity for coloring and shaping each
melodic tone that one could imagine them
to have been scored thus from the start.
Debussy composed his first book of 12
piano Preludes in 1910, and the second
book, also containing 12, in 1913. The
works all bear picturesque titles, which
Debussy attached only at the end of each
piece, or in some cases listed only in the
indexperhaps to keep the programmatic
inspiration from interfering with the music
itself, or perhaps, as Ernest Newman suggested, because he actually thought up
some of the titles after the pieces had been
composed. Debussys Preludes are improvisatory in character, short and free in
form, and often, like his predecessors
Chopin, and even Bachconcentrate on a
specific texture or kind of figuration.
La fille aux cheveux de lin recalls the
simple lyricism of some of Debussys earlier
works. The composer had written a song of
the same title as early as 1880, setting a
poem by Conte de Lisle from his Chansons
cossaises. Though the Prelude borrows no
music from the song, the textureprimarily
melody with accompanimentand the
directness create a similar aspect. Debussys
mature style is revealed in the modal
harmonies and consecutive parallel chords.
Debussy was enchanted by the poetry of
Paul Verlaine. He composed a set of piano
pieces, Suite bergamasque, around 1890
that took its title from a line of Verlaines
famous poem Clair de lune from a collection of poems entitled Ftes galantes,

which in turn were inspired by the paintings of Watteau and his followers. In these
paintings idealized landscapes of parks and
gardens in the twilight are often populated
by revelers in costumes of the tragic-comic
characters of the commedia dell-arte.
Our present piece was originally titled
Promenade sentimentale after another
Verlaine poem, but when Debussy polished
the Suite bergamasque for publication in
1905 he changed the title to Clair de lune.
Since that time the piece has taken on a life
of its own, having become extraordinarily
popular and, sad to say, trivialized. Its luminous qualities and inspired construction
should inspire listeners to look beyond its
familiarity. That amazing openinghow it
just hangs there then gently descends as silvery light from the moon! The rhythmic
freedom gives the feeling of floating as does
the delay of the anchoring pitch of the home
key. The rippling central section no doubt
responds to the line in Verlaines poem about
the moonlight bringing sobs of ecstasy to the
fountains. Debussy, like his contemporary
Ravel, was justly famous for his water
imagery. The ending is magicalDebussy
fragments the theme as moonlight would be
broken up by shadows and allows it to die
away in a haunting final cadence.
Debussy composed his Petite Suite for
piano duet between 1886 and 1889, and
gave the first performance with fellow student Jacques Durand, son of the famous
publisher, on March 1, 1889. The four
pieces were later orchestrated by Henri
Busser, in which version they attracted
more notice, though now the piano-duet
versions have become immensely popular.
En bateau, first in the set, leads off a
long list of water pieces by Debussy that
ingeniously capture in sound what he so
admired about the water pieces of the
Impressionist painters. Here the composer
sets up the lilting motion of a barcarole
(Venetian gondolier song), in which the 6/8
meter and swelling arpeggios help to evoke
the atmosphere of gentle waves under a
floating melody. The central section becomes
more animated with little capricious gestures
before the gentle lilt resumes.

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CHARLES-MARIE WIDOR
(b. Lyons, France, 1844; d. Paris, France, 1937)
Suite for Flute and Piano, Op. 34
Charles-Marie Widor received his first musical
training from his father, an organ builder
and organist. Cavaill-Coll recommended
that the boy study in Brussels with the celebrated Jaak Nikolaas Lemmens, whose
teaching pedigree led in a direct line back to
J. S. Bach. While serving as organist at St.
Franois in Lyons like his father before him,
Widor gained widespread recognition performing in the provinces. His one-year trial
in 1870 as Lefbure-Wlys replacement as
organist at St. Sulpice was so successful
that he won the permanent position,
remaining there for 64 years. Widor also
taught organ and later composition at the
Paris Conservatory; perhaps his most famous
student was Albert Schweitzer, who studied
with him privately in Paris. A master improvisor and interpreter of Bach, Widor was still
composing at the age of 90.
Widor was best known for his organ works,
particularly his ten organ symphonies, but he
also wrote for various chamber music combinations. He composed the Suite for flute and
piano, Op. 34, in 1898 for Paul Taffanel, his
colleague at the Conservatory and the father
of the celebrated modern French school of
flute playing. In four movements, the Suite
begins with an annunciatory gesture, out of
which unfolds an amiable C-minor movement,
whose outer sections feature several flowing
scalar descents. The contrasting central portion of the piece takes the flute into higher
register over arpeggiated waves in the piano.
The brisk-paced flute solo that brings about
the return to the opening music also reappears
to close the movement.
The Scherzo, placed second, also opens
with a heralding leap, then embarks on a
playful romppart dancelike and part
running fast notes. The trio presents the
piano in a songful nocturne with the flute
in an accompanying role. This music returns
at the end of the repeat of the scherzo, linked
to it by the continuation of the nonstop running patterns of the flute.
A lovely Romance features the flute in
its lyrical glory with the piano providing

patterned broken-chord accompaniment.


The central section begins at the same
leisurely pace, but picks up speed until a
solo flute cascade leads back to a return of
the opening music.
The C-minor final movement rushes by
at a breakneck pace until the tranquil middle
section that introduces a chordal texture.
Dramatic fragments bring back altered statements of material from the opening, which
eventually ignite into virtuosic pyrotechnics
that close out the piece in major-mode bravado.

GABRIEL FAUR
(b. Pamiers, Arige, France, 1845; d. Paris,
France, 1924)
Fantasy for Flute and Piano, Op. 79
Gabriel Faur studied for 11 years at the
cole Niedermeyer, a boarding school for the
training of church organists and choirmasters.
He held important organist and choirmaster
positions both in and outside of Paris,
including prestigious posts at St. Sulpice
and the Madeleine. He was passed over for a
post as composition teacher at the Paris
Conservatory in 1892 because he was considered too revolutionary, but four years later he
won that position and went on to become the
director of the Conservatory until 1920. He
achieved international recognition as a leading
composer of French songs, but certain of his
chamber works, piano pieces, and choral
works also won lasting fame.
It fell within the duties of the teachercomposers at the Paris Conservatory to
provide competition pieces through which
to rate the skills of their students. In the
course of his quarter-of-a-century career
there Faur provided a number of such
pieces, many of which have entered the
standard concert repertory. He composed
the Fantasy for flute and piano, Op. 79, for
the concours of 1898 and the piece was
first performed by first-prize winner
Gaston Blanquart on July 28 that year. The
Fantasy was again used as the set piece of
the competition in 1916 and 1925.
The Fantasys introduction allows us to
luxuriate in the sinuous sound of a slow
flute melody atop a simple alternating bass
note and after-beat accompaniment. Several

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chromatic inflections provide unexpected


delights, and a cadenza-like passage for the
flute makes an elegant preparation for the
fast main body of the piece. This Allegro is
based on two ideas: a light, jolly theme
with fast ascending runs to show off the
competitors agility, and a more expressive,
flowing melody. Both return with clever
alterations; the first return of the jolly idea is
prepared by a string of fast repeated notes for
the flute. Paralleling and contrasting with the
natural sweep of the introductions conclusion,
the coda for the entire piece offers a display of
virtuosic leaps and runs to send the competitor
off with great flair.

PHILIPPE GAUBERT
(b. Cahors, Lot, France, 1879; d. Paris,
France, 1941)
Nocturne and Allegro scherzando
Philippe Gaubert received his first musical
instruction from his father, a cobbler and amateur clarinetist. When the family moved to
Paris, seven-year-old Philippe began studying
flute with Paul Taffanels father Jules, who
persuaded his son to accept him as a private
student four years later. Gaubert enrolled in
the Paris Conservatory when Paul Taffanel
was appointed flute professor there in 1893,
and the following year the 15-year-old
Philippe won first prize in the concours. In
recommending him for a concert appearance
in 1886 Taffanel generously wrote, He plays
the flute ten times better than I do.
Under Taffanels guidance Gaubert also
pursued conducting, rising to the level of
principal conductor at the Socit des
Concerts and the Paris Opra. He also
found time to compose. His considerable
output comprises operas, symphonic works,
and chamber music, which naturally
includes works for flute. And, if that were
not enough, Gaubert became a highly influential flute teacher, having taught at the
Conservatory from 1919 until 1932 when
his duties at the Opra became too consuming. After Taffanels death Gaubert completed his teachers comprehensive flute
method book, still in use today.
Gaubert composed his Nocturne and
Allegro scherzando in 1906 as the test piece
for flutists at the Conservatory. That year the

celebrated flutist Marcel Moyse won first


prize as did a lesser-known Mr. Bergeon. The
Nocturne and Allegro scherzando tested the
students again in 1923; other of his flute and
piano pieces also served as competition
pieceshis Fantasy in 1920 and 1925 and
his Ballade in 1910. As its name suggest, the
Nocturne and Allegro scherzando consists of two
parts, a flowing, atmospheric Impressionist
section and a playful, virtuosic section,
which nevertheless contains a broad lyric
melody that also makes a second appearance. Fast dazzle holds sway, however, and
the piece concludes in high grandeur.

FRANZ AND KARL DOPPLER


(Franz Doppler, b. Lemberg (now Lviv),
Austria, 1821; d. Baden, near Vienna, 1883)
(Karl Doppler, b. Lemberg (now Lviv),
Austria, 1825; d. Stuttgart, Germany, 1900)
Hungarian Fantasy for Two Flutes and
Piano, Op. 35
Brothers Franz and Karl Doppler both
began studying flute at an early age with
their father, composer and oboist Joseph
Doppler. Franz played in the conventional
manner with the flute out to his right, but
Karl played backwards with the flute out
to the left! As teenage flute virtuosos they
made several concert tours together, then in
1838 settled in Pest, Hungary, where they
both became flutists in the German Town
Theater and in 1841 at the Hungarian
National Theater. Karl also served as a
conductor at the National Theater until
1862. Franz composed several operas that
met with considerable success, and Karl
composed a singspiel, some incidental
music, and songs that also found a receptive
audience. They even composed several
works jointly, such as the present
Hungarian Fantasy. Together they helped
found the Philharmonic Concerts in 1853,
and periodically toured as a duo.
In 1858 Franz left for Vienna to become
first flutist for the Court Opera and later conductor of the ballet orchestra; his 15 ballets
date from this period. From 1865 Franz also
taught flute at the Vienna Conservatory. Karl
stayed on for a time in Pest, but then moved
to Stuttgart in 1865 to serve as court
Kapellmeister, a post he held for 33 years.

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The compositions of both brothers achieved


great popularity in their day.
The Hungarian Fantasy, originally for
two flutes with orchestra, had to have been
written by 1853, the date when orchestra
parts for the piece were made by a
Hungarian copyist named Flegel. The opus
number of the work suggests that the
undated publication occurred much later,
perhaps in the 1870s like the Rigoletto
Fantasy. In any case, the work clearly
shows the nationalistic traits the brothers
promoted in their adopted country of
Hungarymuch like Liszt with his
Hungarian Rhapsodies.
A majestic chordal announcement introduces the two flutes in parallel thirds, moving precisely together, which becomes their
primary mode of expression throughout.
Occasionally they alternate ideas, but the
extent to which they remain steadfastly
linked in thirdsor in sixthsactually
becomes the remarkable feature of the piece.
A cadenza for the flute pair leads to the main
theme in the minor mode with folklike
perhaps Gypsy inspiredrhythmic inflections. A series of colorful variations ensues,
occasionally set off by interpolated orchestral/piano interludes. The contrast of lively
and mournful moods is typical of
Hungarian folk models. The conclusion
with its pyrotechnics of repeated notes and
cascading chromatic scales admirably shows
off the precision of the virtuoso flute pair.

PAUL TAFFANEL
(b. Bordeaux, France, 1844; d. Paris, France, 1908)
Grand Fantasy on Themes from Mignon
Paul Taffanel is considered the founder of
the modern French school of flute playing
through his revolutionary approach to tone
production, which brought new emotional
depth to the instrument. He studied with
flutist-composer Louis Dorus at the Paris
Conservatory, winning a first prize in 1860.
Taffanels playing, as soloist and as principal
orchestral player for the Socit de
Concerts and Paris Opra, dominated the
Paris scene for thirty years. Dozens of
pieces were written for him, many for the
chamber music society he founded in 1879;
his own compositions consist mainly of

chamber music. He taught flute at the


Conservatory from 1893 until his death in
1908, and is still revered for his comprehensive flute method book, which his prize
pupil Gaubert completed after his death.
A number of Taffanels compositions
follow the tradition of presenting a string of
hit tunes from a popular opera of the day
in a virtuosic instrumental medley. The
comic opera Mignon by Thomas Ambroise
scored an immediate success when premiered at Pariss Opra Comique on
November 17, 1866. Thomas, who studied
at the Paris Conservatory, became professor
of composition there in 1856 and director in
1871. The story of his opera involves
Goethes famous character Mignon, stolen
by Gypsies as a child and forced to earn her
living by dancing. She is eventually united
with Wilhelm, the rich young gentleman she
loves, after encountering problems along the
way from the jealous Philine. Mignon discovers in the end that she is the daughter of
an Italian nobleman, whom she knows as a
slightly unhinged wandering harpist.
The grand introduction of Taffanels
Fantasy, drawn from the operas overture,
brings about a rhapsodic unaccompanied
flute solo before the major tunes set in. One
of thesebased on a simple long-short-long
rhythm that both rises and fallsis
Mignons popular air Connais-tu le pays?
(Do you know the land?), in which she tells
Wilhelm of her dim memories of her homeland. Another is the delicate entracte music
that precedes Act II, which Thomas interpolated as the famous rondo-gavotte for
Frdric (Philines admirer) for the 1870
London production. Toward the end of
Taffanels Grand Fantasy we also hear the
brilliant polonaise Je suis Titania (I am
Titania), sung in the opera by Philine in a
self-congratulatory mood after her performance in Midsummer Nights Dream. Taffanel
treats all these themes to variations designed
to show off the flutists prowess, and concludes with a unifying return to the grand
music of the opening.
Jane Vial Jaffe