Bassoon part from Dolly Suite

arranged for wind quintet from the original piano duet (revised June 2017)

Gabriel Fauré
Full details...
page one of the Bassoon part from Dolly Suite

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Full details

Faure’s piano duet entitled “Dolly Suite” is here arranged by Philip Le Bas for a wind quintet with a difference: the clarinettist is asked play bass clarinet in three of the six pieces. This gives the music more sonority and it allows the arranger more opportunity to bring out Faure’s sumptuous harmonies. “Dolly” was the nickname of the baby daughter of Emma Bardac, with whom Faure had a long-running affair, and each of the pieces has a slightly different association with childhood.

1) The “Berceuse” (lullaby) is best remembered as the theme tune to the BBC’s “Listen with Mother”, and its melody is indelibly marked into the memories of generations of radio listeners between 1950 and 1982. It was written for Dolly’s first birthday. (An alternative part for clarinet in A is available for this movement, to avoid the otherwise slightly tricky key signature of F sharp major! See the separate listing of the Berceuse.)

2) “Mi-a-ou” has nothing to do with cats, but is a version of Dolly’s first attempts to pronounce the name of her brother Raoul. Written for her second birthday, it is a delicate and playful scherzo with lots of cross-rhythms for the instruments.

3) “Le Jardin de Dolly” is regarded by some as the best piece in the collection, with its gorgeous tune and unexpected harmonies, creating an impressionistic picture of a beautiful, peaceful French garden.

4) “Kitty-Valse” again has nothing to do with cats but with the family dog “Ketty”, who whirls round and round, in unrelenting cheerfulness.

5) In “Tendresse” Faure introduces more chromatic harmonies, used in his later works. As its name and its key of D flat suggests, the music here seems to express deep and shifting emotions associated with intimate relationships, while retaining a sense of calm and comfort throughout.

6) The last piece, “Le Pas Espagnole” is a thrilling journey across the border into the exotic Spanish world of dance. There is much in common with Chabrier’s “Espana”, and here the wind players can enjoy playing at “full tilt” in an exciting and tuneful end to the suite.

Gabriel Fauré
17 minutes
Classical music

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