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Karel Husa - "Les Couleurs Fauves"

Les Couleurs Fauves

1. Persistent Bells

2. Ritual Dance Masks

Karel Husa

Born: August 7, 1921, Prague, Czechoslovakia

Instrumentation: Small Wind Orchestra

Composed: 1996

Duration: 17 minutes

Les Couleurs Fauves was commissioned by alumni and friends of the Northwestern University School of Music, in honor of the fortieth anniversary of John P. Paynter’s appointment to the faculty. Unfortunately, Paynter died before the work's premiere, which occurred at a memorial concert for the professor on Northwestern’s campus, by the University Symphonic Wind Ensemble, conducted by the composer, on November 16, 1996.

The composer writes the following about Les Couleurs Fauves:

I have always been fascinated by colors, not only in music but also in nature and art. The paintings of the Impressionists and Fauvists have been particularly attractive to me, and their French origin accounts for the French title of my piece. The two movements (“Persistent Bells” and “Ritual Dance Masks”) gave me the chance to play with colors - sometimes gentle, sometimes raw - of the wind ensemble, something John Paynter also liked to do in his conducting.

I was reminded of those French painters, whom I admired as a young student in Paris. They called themselves fauvists (vivid, wild), for they used both, often powerful strokes of brushes with unmixed colors. Their paintings, though, breathe with sensitivity, serenity, and gentleness. John's transcriptions as well as his conducting had these characteristics and hopefully Les Couleurs Fauves will remind you of them.

Additional Husa Resources:

Les Couleurs Fauves, Movement 1: "Persistent Bells"

Northern Illinois University Wind Ensemble, Dr. Thomas Bough, conductor

Les Couleurs Fauves, Movement 2: "Ritual Dance Masks"

Northern Illinois University Wind Ensemble, Dr. Thomas Bough, conductor

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