The Assassination of the Duke of Guise
The Assassination of the Duke of Guise is a French historical film directed by Charles le Bargy and André Calmettes, adapted by Henri Lavedan, featuring actors of the Comédie-Française and prominent set designers. It is one of the first films to feature both an original film score, composed by Camille Saint-Saëns, a screenplay by an eminent screenwriter. Lasting longer than was usual, about 15 minutes, the film more or less depicts the events of the day in 1588 when King Henry III summoned his powerful rival, Duke Henri de Guise, to his chambers at the Château de Blois and had him brutally murdered; the film has its share of lurid thrills and better acting than most films of the time. It has slow pacing throughout the film; the Assassination was one of the first and most successful films to be made by Le Film d'Art, a production company founded in 1907 with the intention of making films that would earn the respect of the cultural elite as well as the patronage of large audiences. The script was written for the screen, but its costumes and staging followed the historical tradition of the French theater.
The movie contains the rudiments of the more elaborate narrative techniques of films to come. Although it consists of only nine shots, with theatrical rather than cinematic acting and staging, it presents enough elements of a story that it could be understood on its own, it does this through continuity of space. Leading up to and including the assassination, the camera follows the movements of the main character over five separate shots, through three separate rooms and back. Other elements were theatrical rather than filmic, such as sets with painted backdrops and the camera's single stationary position for each scene, reminiscent of a seat on the main floor, not far from the "stage." Calmettes and le Bargy were both eminent actors, le Bargy a member of the Comédie-Française. Charles le Bargy as Henry III Albert Lambert as Le duc de Guise Gabrielle Robinne as Marquise de Noirmoutier, maîtresse du duc Berthe Bovy as Le page Jean Angelo Albert Dieudonné Huguette Duflos Raphaël Duflos Charles Lorrain Rolla Norman The Fairylogue and Radio-Plays contains the earliest documented original score in all of cinema.
Calmettes is credited with the idea of scoring the film, Saint-Saëns was a logical choice for such a prestigious venture. At age 73, he was France's most celebrated composer, he had extensive experience in theater music; the score integrates small-scale dramatic details within a large-scale musical form to a degree equaled during the rest of the silent period. Information about how he approached the project is ambiguous. Bonnerot, his biographer, tells us that he worked out the music "scene by scene before the screen". Saint-Saëns had a piano reduction of the score, published by Durand that year; the première was held at the Salle Charras on 17 November 1908. It befitting such an "art" film. Sponsored and advertised by Le Film d'Art under the title "Visions d'Art", the various entertainments combined imagery and live music. There were two other features beside The Assassination, each with an original score of its own: Le Secret de Myrto, depicting ballerina Régina Badet dancing to music of Gaston Berardi.
The program included color photographs from Asia, described as "fairy-tale views" taken by Gervais-Courtellemont. Le Bargy recited Edmond Rostand's poem "Le Bois sacré", said to be "illustrated by a ballet—or rather, a choreographic vision." The film's success in France inspired other companies to make similar films, thus inaugurating a genre which became known as films d'art, taking the name of the leading production company. The Assassination of the Duke of Guise was released in the United States by Pathé Frères on February 17, 1909. There is no trace of a special premiere for the program. In Moving Picture World, Pathé announced the film as one of its current "dramatic" releases, at a length of 853 feet shorter than the version for which Saint-Saëns had composed his score. There is no record that the score was heard in America at that time. Neither the film nor the score was suited to the nickelodeon-centered American film industry in 1909, but it was reviewed extensively over the next several weeks.
It received considerable attention from critics because of the reputation of its creators and crew. Many critics noted that with the movie's basis in French history, the film might appeal to the upper class, but the average American moviegoer might not be able to follow the plot; when comparing the movie with contemporary American historical drama, many critics considered The Assassination to have better photography, better acting, better dramatic construction. Gunning, Tom, D. W. Griffith and the Origins of American Narrative Film, 1994, University of Illinois Press Hanson, Bernard, "D. W. Griffith: Some Sources," The Art Bulletin, Vol. 54, No. 4. Pp. 493–515 Marks, Martin Miller, Music
Étienne Marcel (opera)
Étienne Marcel is an 1879 opera in 4 acts by Camille Saint-Saëns to a libretto by Louis Gallet. Étienne Marcel, prévôt des marchands Robert de Loris, écuyer du Dauphin Eustache Robert de Clermont, maréchal de Normandie Jehan Maillard Pierre, jeune seigneur, ami de Robert L'Hôtelier Béatrix, fille d'Étienne Marcel Le Dauphin Charles Marguerite, mère de Béatrix Un héraut Un artisan Denis, serviteur d'Étienne Marcel Un soldat Radio broadcast recording: Étienne Marcel – Alain Fondary.
Henry VIII (opera)
Henry VIII is an opera in four acts by Camille Saint-Saëns, from a libretto by Léonce Détroyat and Armand Silvestre, based on El cisma en Inglaterra by Pedro Calderón de la Barca. The action covers the period in Henry VIII's life when the king was attempting to divorce Queen Catherine of Aragon in favour of marrying Anne Boleyn, a move rejected by the Church. In an effort to evoke the historical context, Saint-Saëns researched English music from the period and incorporated several English and Irish folk melodies into his score, as well as an air by William Byrd, contained in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book. Henry VIII received its first performance on 5 March 1883 at the Académie Nationale de Musique, with costumes designed by Eugène Lacoste and settings by Antoine Lavastre and Eugène Louis Carpezat, Jean-Baptiste Lavastre, Auguste Alfred Rubé and Philippe Chaperon. A new production directed by Paul Stuart premiered on 18 June 1909, with costumes by Charles Bianchini and sets by Carpezat, Marcel Jambon and Alexandre Bailly.
Henry VIII remained in the repertoire of the Opéra until 1919. It was seen at the Royal Opera House, London in 1889 with Maurice Renaud in the title role, Lina Pacary as Catherine d'Aragon, Meyriane Héglon as Anne Boleyn, it was revived in 1991 at the Théatre Impérial de Compiègne in a production by Pierre Jourdan, with Philippe Rouillon as Henry VIII, Michèle Command as Catherine of Aragon and Lucile Vignon as Anne Boleyn. The production was made into a film. Performances were given at the Liceu in Barcelona in 2002 where it was staged once again by Pierre Jourdan with Montserrat Caballé as Catherine, Simon Estes as Henry and Nomeda Kazlaus as Anne Boleyn, with José Collado conducting. A concert performance was given at the Bard College Music Festival, Annandale-on-Hudson, on 20 August 2012, with Ellie Dehn as Catherine, Jason Howard as Henry, Jennifer Holloway as Anne Boleyn. Leon Botstein conducted. Philippe Rouillon, baritone. Le Chant Du Monde. 1991 Extracts: "Ô Cruel Souvenir!" Véronique Gens on Tragediennes 3 Les Talens Lyriques, Christophe Rousset Notes Sources Huebner, Steven.
French Opera at the Fin de Siècle: Henry VIII. Oxford Univ. Press, US. pp. 213–230. ISBN 978-0-19-518954-4. Upton, George P.. The Standard Opera Guide. New York: Blue Ribbon Books. Pp. 320–323. Henry VIII: Scores at the International Music Score Library Project Henry VIII: visual documentation of the premiere on Gallica
Achille-Claude Debussy was a French composer. He is sometimes seen as the first Impressionist composer, he was among the most influential composers of the late early 20th centuries. Born to a family of modest means and little cultural involvement, Debussy showed enough musical talent to be admitted at the age of ten to France's leading music college, the Conservatoire de Paris, he studied the piano, but found his vocation in innovative composition, despite the disapproval of the Conservatoire's conservative professors. He took many years to develop his mature style, was nearly 40 when he achieved international fame in 1902 with the only opera he completed, Pelléas et Mélisande. Debussy's orchestral works include Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune and Images, his music was to a considerable extent a reaction against the German musical tradition. He regarded the classical symphony as obsolete and sought an alternative in his "symphonic sketches", La mer, his piano works include two of Études. Throughout his career he wrote mélodies including his own.
He was influenced by the Symbolist poetic movement of the 19th century. A small number of works, including the early La Damoiselle élue and the late Le Martyre de saint Sébastien have important parts for chorus. In his final years, he focused on chamber music, completing three of six planned sonatas for different combinations of instruments. With early influences including Russian and far-eastern music, Debussy developed his own style of harmony and orchestral colouring, derided – and unsuccessfully resisted – by much of the musical establishment of the day, his works have influenced a wide range of composers including Béla Bartók, Olivier Messiaen, George Benjamin, the jazz pianist and composer Bill Evans. Debussy died from cancer at his home in Paris at the age of 55 after a composing career of a little more than 30 years. Debussy was born on 22 August 1862 in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Seine-et-Oise, on the north-west fringes of Paris, he was the eldest of the five children of Manuel-Achille Debussy and his wife, Victorine, née Manoury.
Debussy senior ran his wife was a seamstress. The shop was unsuccessful, closed in 1864. Manuel worked in a printing factory. In 1870, to escape the Siege of Paris during the Franco-Prussian War, Debussy's pregnant mother took him and his sister Adéle to their paternal aunt's home in Cannes, where they remained until the following year. During his stay in Cannes, the seven-year-old Debussy had his first piano lessons. Manuel Debussy joined the forces of the Commune. Among his fellow Communard prisoners was a musician. Sivry's mother, Antoinette Mauté de Fleurville, gave piano lessons, at his instigation the young Debussy became one of her pupils. Debussy's talents soon became evident, in 1872, aged ten, he was admitted to the Conservatoire de Paris, where he remained a student for the next eleven years, he first joined the piano class of Antoine François Marmontel, studied solfège with Albert Lavignac and composition with Ernest Guiraud, harmony with Émile Durand, organ with César Franck. The course included music history and theory studies with Louis-Albert Bourgault-Ducoudray, but it is not certain that Debussy, apt to skip classes attended these.
At the Conservatoire, Debussy made good progress. Marmontel said of him "A charming child, a artistic temperament. Another teacher was less impressed: Emile Durand wrote in a report "Debussy would be an excellent pupil if he were less sketchy and less cavalier." A year he described Debussy as "desperately careless". In July 1874 Debussy received the award of deuxième accessit for his performance as soloist in the first movement of Chopin's Second Piano Concerto at the Conservatoire's annual competition, he was a fine pianist and an outstanding sight reader, who could have had a professional career had he wished, but he was only intermittently diligent in his studies. He advanced to premier accessit in 1875 and second prize in 1877, but failed at the competitions in 1878 and 1879; these failures made him ineligible to continue in the Conservatoire's piano classes, but he remained a student for harmony, solfège and composition. With Marmontel's help Debussy secured a summer vacation job in 1879 as resident pianist at the Château de Chenonceau, where he acquired a taste for luxury, to remain with him all his life.
His first compositions date from this period, two settings of poems by Alfred de Musset: "Ballade à la lune" and "Madrid, princesse des Espagnes". The following year he secured a job as pianist in the household of Nadezhda von Meck, the patroness of Tchaikovsky, he travelled with her family for the summers of 1880 to 1882, staying at various places in France and Italy, as well as at her home in Moscow. He composed his Piano Trio in G major for von Meck's ensemble, made a transcription for piano duet of three dances from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake. At the end of 1880 Debussy, while continuing in his studies at the Conservatoire, was engaged as accompanist for Marie Moreau-Sainti's singing class. Among the members of th
The Carnival of the Animals
The Carnival of the Animals is a humorous musical suite of fourteen movements by the French Romantic composer Camille Saint-Saëns. The work was written for private performance by an ad hoc ensemble of two pianos and other instruments, lasts around 25 minutes. Following a disastrous concert tour of Germany in 1885–86, Saint-Saëns withdrew to a small Austrian village, where he composed The Carnival of the Animals in February 1886, it is scored for two pianos, two violins, cello, double bass, clarinet, glass harmonica, xylophone. From the beginning, Saint-Saëns regarded the work as a piece of fun. On 9 February 1886 he wrote to his publishers Durand in Paris that he was composing a work for the coming Shrove Tuesday, confessing that he knew he should be working on his Third Symphony, but that this work was "such fun", he had intended to write the work for his students at the École Niedermeyer, but it was first performed at a private concert given by the cellist Charles Lebouc on Shrove Tuesday, 9 March 1886.
A second performance was given on 2 April at the home of Pauline Viardot with an audience including Franz Liszt, a friend of the composer, who had expressed a wish to hear the work. There were other private performances for the French mid-Lent festival of Mi-Carême, but Saint-Saëns was adamant that the work would not be published in his lifetime, seeing it as detracting from his "serious" composer image, he relented only for the famous cello solo The Swan, which forms the penultimate movement of the work, and, published in 1887 in an arrangement by the composer for cello and solo piano. Saint-Saëns did specify in his will. Following his death in December 1921, the work was published by Durand in Paris in April 1922 and the first public performance was given on 25 February 1922 by Concerts Colonne. Carnival has since become one of Saint-Saëns's best-known works, played by the original eleven instruments, or more with the full string section of an orchestra. A glockenspiel substitutes for the rare glass harmonica.
Popular with music teachers and young children, it is recorded in combination with Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf or Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra. There are fourteen movements, each representing a different animal or animals: Strings and two pianos: the introduction begins with the pianos playing a bold tremolo, under which the strings enter with a stately theme; the pianos play a pair of scales going in opposite directions to conclude the first part of the movement. The pianos introduce a march theme that they carry through most of the rest of the introduction; the strings provide the melody, with the pianos taking low runs of octaves which suggest the roar of a lion, or high ostinatos. The two groups of instruments switch places, with the pianos playing a higher, softer version of the melody; the movement ends with a fortissimo note from all the instruments used in this movement. Strings without cello and double bass, two pianos, with clarinet: this movement is centered around a pecking theme played in the pianos and strings, quite reminiscent of chickens pecking at grain.
The clarinet plays a small solo above the strings. The piano plays a fast theme based on the crowing of a rooster's Cock-a-Doodle-Doo. Two pianos: the animals depicted here are quite running, an image induced by the constant, feverishly fast up-and-down motion of both pianos playing scales in octaves; these are donkeys that come from Tibet and are known for their great speed. Strings and piano: a satirical movement which opens with a piano playing a pulsing triplet figure in the higher register; the strings play a slow rendition of the famous "Galop infernal" from Offenbach's operetta Orphée aux enfers. Double bass and piano: this section is marked Allegro pomposo, the perfect caricature for an elephant; the piano plays a waltz-like triplet figure. Like "Tortues," this is a musical joke—the thematic material is taken from the Scherzo from Mendelssohn's incidental music to A Midsummer Night's Dream and Berlioz's "Dance of the Sylphs" from The Damnation of Faust; the two themes were both written for high, lighter-toned instruments.
Two pianos: the main figure here is a pattern of "hopping" chords preceded by grace notes in the right hand. When the chords ascend, they get faster and louder, when the chords descend, they get slower and softer. Violins, cello, two pianos and glass harmonica: this is one of the more musically rich movements; the melody is played by the flute, backed by the strings, glass harmonica on top of tumultuous, glissando-like runs and arpeggios in pianos. The first piano plays a descending ten-on-one, eight-on-one ostinato, in the style of the second of Chopin's études, while the second plays a six-on-one; these figures, plus the occasional glissando from the glass harmonica towards the end—often played on celesta or glockenspiel—are evocative of a peaceful, dimly lit aquarium. According to British music journalist Fritz Spiegl, there is a recording of the movement featuring virtuoso harmonica player Tommy Reilly—apparently he was hired by mistake instead of a player of the glass harmonica; the recording in question is of the Czechoslovak Radio
Pablo de Sarasate
Martín Melitón Pablo de Sarasate y Navascués was a Spanish violinist and composer of the Romantic period. Pablo Sarasate was born in Pamplona, the son of an artillery bandmaster, he picked up the violin and played a passage of music his father had been struggling to play for a long time. He began studying the violin with his father at the age of five and took lessons from a local teacher, his musical talent became evident early on and he appeared in his first public concert in A Coruña at the age of eight. His performance was well-received, caught the attention of a wealthy patron who provided the funding for Sarasate to study under Manuel Rodríguez Saez in Madrid, where he gained the favor of Queen Isabella II; as his abilities developed, he was sent to study under Jean-Delphin Alard at the Paris Conservatoire at the age of twelve. There, at seventeen, Sarasate entered a competition for the Premier Prix and won his first prize, the Conservatoire's highest honour. Sarasate, publicly performing since childhood, made his Paris debut as a concert violinist in 1860, played in London the following year.
Over the course of his career, he toured many parts of the world, performing in Europe, North America, South America. His artistic pre-eminence was due principally to the purity of his tone, free from any tendency towards the sentimental or rhapsodic, to that impressive facility of execution that made him a virtuoso. In his early career, Sarasate performed opera fantasies, most notably the Fantasía Carmen, various other pieces that he had composed; the popularity of Sarasate's Spanish flavour in his compositions is reflected in the work of his contemporaries. For example, the influences of Spanish music can be heard in such notable works as Édouard Lalo's Symphonie Espagnole, dedicated to Sarasate. Of Sarasate's idiomatic writing for his instrument, the playwright and music critic George Bernard Shaw once declared that though there were many composers of music for the violin, there were but few composers of violin music. Of Sarasate's talents as performer and composer, Shaw said that he "left criticism gasping miles behind him".
Sarasate's own compositions are show-pieces designed to demonstrate his exemplary technique. The best known of his works is Zigeunerweisen, a work for violin and orchestra. Another piece, the Fantasía Carmen for violin and orchestra, makes use of themes from Georges Bizet's opera Carmen, his most performed encores are his two books of Spanish dances, brief pieces designed to please the listener's ear and show off the performer's talent. He made arrangements of a number of other composers' work for violin, composed sets of variations on "potpourris" drawn from operas familiar to his audiences, such as his Fantasia on La forza del destino, his "Souvenirs de Faust", or his variations on themes from Die Zauberflöte. At Brussels, he met Berthe Marx, who traveled with him as soloist and accompanist on his tours through Europe and the US, she arranged Sarasate's Spanish dances for the piano. In 1904, he made a small number of recordings. In all his travels Sarasate returned to Pamplona each year for the San Fermín festival.
Sarasate died in France, on 20 September 1908, from chronic bronchitis. He bequeathed his violin, made by Antonio Stradivari in 1724, to the Musée de la Musique; the violin now bears his name as the Sarasate Stradivarius in his memory. His second Stradivari violin, the Boissier of 1713, is now owned by Real Conservatorio Superior de Música, Madrid. Among his violin pupils was Alfred de Sève; the Pablo Sarasate International Violin Competition is held in Pamplona. A number of works for violin were dedicated to Sarasate, including Henryk Wieniawski's Violin Concerto No. 2, Édouard Lalo's Symphonie Espagnole, Camille Saint-Saëns' Violin Concerto No. 3 and his Introduction and Rondo capriccioso, Max Bruch's Scottish Fantasy, Alexander Mackenzie's Pibroch Suite. Inspired by Sarasate is William H. Potstock's Souvenir de Sarasate. James Whistler's Arrangement in Black: Pablo de Sarasate is a portrait of Pablo Sarasate. In Arthur Conan Doyle's short story The Red-Headed League, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John H. Watson attend a concert by Sarasate.
Sarasate is a major figure in Murder to Music, a Sherlock Holmes pastiche by Anthony Burgess. Holmes is mentioned as attending a Sarasate concert in The Treasure Train by Frankie Thomas. In Edith Wharton's 1920 novel The Age of Innocence, set in 1870s New York, the main protagonist is invited to a private recital to be given by Sarasate. Zigeunerweisen is the title of Seijun Suzuki's 1980 movie, the first of the so-called Taisho Trilogy. A recording of the air of the same title by Sarasate, his that can be heard on the recording, are one of the themes of the movie, he appears in Mercedes Lackey's Elemental Masters story A Study in Sable, as an Elemental Master of Spirit, able to conjure, speak with, to some extent control ghosts with his music. Singer, Isidore; the Jewish Encyclopedia: A Descriptive Record of the History, Religion and Customs of the Jewish People from the Earliest Tim
An orchestra is a large instrumental ensemble typical of classical music, which combines instruments from different families, including bowed string instruments such as the violin, viola and double bass, brass instruments such as the horn, trumpet and tuba, woodwinds such as the flute, oboe and bassoon, percussion instruments such as the timpani, bass drum, snare drum and cymbals, each grouped in sections. Other instruments such as the piano and celesta may sometimes appear in a fifth keyboard section or may stand alone, as may the concert harp and, for performances of some modern compositions, electronic instruments. A full-size orchestra may sometimes be called philharmonic orchestra; the actual number of musicians employed in a given performance may vary from seventy to over one hundred musicians, depending on the work being played and the size of the venue. The term chamber orchestra refers to smaller-sized ensembles of about fifty musicians or fewer. Orchestras that specialize in the Baroque music of, for example, Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel, or Classical repertoire, such as that of Haydn and Mozart, tend to be smaller than orchestras performing a Romantic music repertoire, such as the symphonies of Johannes Brahms.
The typical orchestra grew in size throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, reaching a peak with the large orchestras called for in the works of Richard Wagner, Gustav Mahler. Orchestras are led by a conductor who directs the performance with movements of the hands and arms made easier for the musicians to see by use of a conductor's baton; the conductor sets the tempo and shapes the sound of the ensemble. The conductor prepares the orchestra by leading rehearsals before the public concert, in which the conductor provides instructions to the musicians on their interpretation of the music being performed; the leader of the first violin section called the concertmaster plays an important role in leading the musicians. In the Baroque music era, orchestras were led by the concertmaster or by a chord-playing musician performing the basso continuo parts on a harpsichord or pipe organ, a tradition that some 20th century and 21st century early music ensembles continue. Orchestras play a wide range of repertoire, including symphonies and ballet overtures, concertos for solo instruments, as pit ensembles for operas and some types of musical theatre.
Amateur orchestras include those made up of students from an elementary school or a high school, youth orchestras, community orchestras. The term orchestra derives from the Greek ὀρχήστρα, the name for the area in front of a stage in ancient Greek theatre reserved for the Greek chorus; the typical symphony orchestra consists of four groups of related musical instruments called the woodwinds, brass and strings. Other instruments such as the piano and celesta may sometimes be grouped into a fifth section such as a keyboard section or may stand alone, as may the concert harp and electric and electronic instruments; the orchestra, depending on the size, contains all of the standard instruments in each group. In the history of the orchestra, its instrumentation has been expanded over time agreed to have been standardized by the classical period and Ludwig van Beethoven's influence on the classical model. In the 20th and 21st century, new repertory demands expanded the instrumentation of the orchestra, resulting in a flexible use of the classical-model instruments and newly developed electric and electronic instruments in various combinations.
The terms symphony orchestra and philharmonic orchestra may be used to distinguish different ensembles from the same locality, such as the London Symphony Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. A symphony orchestra will have over eighty musicians on its roster, in some cases over a hundred, but the actual number of musicians employed in a particular performance may vary according to the work being played and the size of the venue. Chamber orchestra refers to smaller-sized ensembles; the term concert orchestra may be used, as in the BBC Concert Orchestra and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra. The so-called "standard complement" of doubled winds and brass in the orchestra from the first half of the 19th century is attributed to the forces called for by Beethoven; the composer's instrumentation always included paired flutes, clarinets, bassoons and trumpets. The exceptions to this are his Symphony No. 4, Violin Concerto, Piano Concerto No. 4, which each specify a single flute. Beethoven calculated the expansion of this particular timbral "palette" in Symphonies 3, 5, 6, 9 for an innovative effect.
The third horn in the "Eroica" Symphony arrives to provide not only some harmonic flexibility, but the effect of "choral" brass in the Trio movement. Piccolo and trombones add to the triumphal finale of his Symphony No. 5. A piccolo and a pair of trombones help deliver the effect of storm and sunshine in the Sixth known as the Pastoral Symphony; the Ninth asks for a second pair of horns, for reasons similar to the "Eroica".