Fanfare from La Peri
Paul Dukas (1865–1935)
ABOUT THIS PIECE
Best known for his symphonic scherzo L’apprenti sorcier (“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” 1897), Paul Dukas was famous during his lifetime as a music critic and teacher as well as composer, having served as a professor at the Conservatoire de Paris and across France. Entirely self-critical, he destroyed most of his unfinished and those compositions he considered sub-par in the last years of his life. His La Péri (a poème dansé, or danced poem) was his final large-scale work—he almost destroyed it as well, but it was saved at the insistence of his friends. A one-act ballet dedicated to the French dancer Natalia Trouhanova, known for her portrayals of Salome in various stage works on that character, La Péri was based on a Persian folk story of a prince who seeks the flower of immortality (a lotus) and falls in love with a sleeping fairy (the eponymous peri). Dukas wrote the fanfare to La Péri at the last minute, after he had finished the ballet and it was about to be premiered. Scored for brass choir, it is written in three parts—with a grandiose and powerful opening, a softer and more introspective midsection, and a final return to the initial fanfare.
Program notes by:
Dr. Jessica Getman
Assistant Professor of Musicology/Ethnomusicology
California State University, San Bernardino