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Jonathan Dove: "Figures in the Garden"

January 26, 2017

Figures in the Garden

Jonathan Dove

Born: July 18, 1959, London, United Kingdom

Instrumentation: Wind Octet (Harmonie)

Composed: 1991

Duration: 20 minutes

 

For their 1991 Mozart bicentenary celebrations, the Glyndebourne Festival commissioned five composers to write wind serenades. Each serenade was to be musically connected in some way with one of Mozart’s operas, and to be played outdoors before the performance of the opera. I was asked to compose a piece to precede The Marriage of Figaro. Although Mozart’s comic masterpiece needs no introduction, musically or otherwise, I was attracted by the aptness of playing a serenade in the garden before performances of an opera whose last act is set in a garden, and which itself includes a number of serenades: Voi che spaete, Deh vieni, non tardar, and Suzanna and the countess’ letter-writing duet Canzonetta su sull ‘aria’. I had the idea that with all the performances of The Marriage of Figaro that had taken place at Glyndebourne, sounds from the opera had in some way impregnated the garden: snatches of recitative, musical figures, instrumental colours. I didn’t want to overwork Mozart’s tunes – it would be disastrous if the audience were tired of them before the opera had even begun – but each movement of Figures in the Garden is developed from a musical idea in the opera. Here and there an alternative scenario emerges: Suzanna sings her aria in the rain (because it’s an English garden), and Figaro and Suzanna finally enjoy a moment of shared tranquility that is denied them in the opera.

 

- Program Note by Jonathan Dove

 

Jonathan Dove, Figures in the Garden, I. "Dancing in the Dark"

Members of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Antony Pay, conductor

 

Jonathan Dove, Figures in the Garden, II. "Susanna in the Rain"

Members of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Antony Pay, conductor

 

Jonathan Dove, Figures in the Garden, III. "A Conversation"

Members of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Antony Pay, conductor

 

Jonathan Dove, Figures in the Garden, IV. "Barbarina Alone"

Members of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Antony Pay, conductor

 

Jonathan Dove, Figures in the Garden, V. "The Countess Interrupts a Quarrel"

Members of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Antony Pay, conductor

 

 Jonathan Dove, Figures in the Garden, VI. "Voices in the Garden"

Members of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Antony Pay, conductor

 

 Jonathan Dove, Figures in the Garden, VII. "Nocturne: Figaro and Susanna"

Members of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Antony Pay, conductor

 

Additional Resources:

- Jonathan Dove Biography (JonathanDove.com)

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