FAURE - STARR; SUITE CONCERTANTE for violin solo and string orchestra; 5 (of 5) Papillon, opus 77

Papillon means butterfly in French. Faure composed his Papillon for cello and piano, and this short piece is a favorite encore for virtuoso cellists on cello/piano recitals. However, I have long felt that the cello is much too heavy an instrument to portray a butterfly. And despite Faure’s marking of leggierissimo at the outset, I have never heard a cellist play this piece lightly – although I have heard several celebrated cellists play it very fast. In my opinion, the sound of the cello inevitably becomes coarse when played at this speed. The result is one big butterfly – especially in the lyrical sections, in which the cello resonates like an operatic baritone. Also in my opinion, Faure miscast the cello as the butterfly in this imaginative showpiece. I think the ideal instrument for this music is the solo violin. Moreover, the accompaniment is made to order for a gentle string orchestra, rather than the percussive piano. For both these reasons, I made this orchestration for solo violin and string orchestra to conclude my Suite concertante of music by Gabriel Faure.

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