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Paul Dukas, Fanfare pour preceder "La Péri"

October 16, 2017

Fanfare pour preceder "La Peri"

Paul Dukas

Born: October 1, 1865, Paris, France

Died: May 17, 1935, Paris, France

Composed: 1912

Duration: 3 minutes

 

Mainly known to audiences in the United States through a single work, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, the composer Paul Dukas was a pathological perfectionist who burned all but a dozen of his compositions. Besides La Péri, his major surviving works are the Symphony in C and the opera Ariane et Barbe-Bleue (Ariadne and Bluebeard).

 

His one-act ballet La Péri nearly ended up in the fireplace as well, surviving only at the insistence of friends. Composed in 1911 it was Dukas’ final published work. The ballet is based on a Persian story about Iskender (Alexander the Great) and the péri, a fairy in the service of Ormuzd, god of light. Dukas originally intended La Péri for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes – the company that premiered Stravinsky’s Petrushka, The Firebird and The Rite of Spring – but the deal fell through because of infighting about the casting.

Dukas’s music reflects the composer’s seemingly incompatible admiration for Wagner and French impressionism. The opening Wagner-on-the-Seine brass fanfare, which Dukas added to the ballet as an afterthought, imitates the fanfare Wagner wrote expressly to summon the audience after the intermission at his music dramas at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus. 

 

- Program note by Elizabeth and Joseph Kahn

 

Paul Dukas, Fanfare pour preceder "La Peri"

L'Orchestoire Nationale de France, Leonard Slatkin, conductor

 

Additional Resources:

- Dukas Biography (Wikipedia)

- La Peri Synopsis (Wikipedia)

- Recording of La Peri (one-act ballet)

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