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Jacques Ibert Composer

Don Quichotte (film score)

Performances: 5
Tracks: 12
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Musicology:
  • Don Quichotte (film score)
    Year: 1932
    Genre: Film Score
    Pr. Instrument: Orchestra
    • 1.Sarabande pour Dulcinée
    • 2.Chansons de Don Quichotte
    • 3.Chansons du départ
    • 4.Chansons à Dulcinée
    • 5.Chansons du duc
    • 6.Chansons de la mort
These songs were written for a 1932 film on the story of Don Quixote, directed by Georg W. Pabst and starring the great Russian bass, Feodor Chaliapin. Unbeknownst to Ibert, he was only one of five composers approached by the producers, who also secured submissions from Marcel Delannoy, Manuel de Falla, Darius Milhaud, and Maurice Ravel; each composer thought his music was to be used in the film. The dishonest circumstances of the "competition," and the fact that his songs were chosen over those of Ravel, whom he greatly admired, were embarrassments to Ibert. It also angered Ravel, who considered a lawsuit against the producers. He eventually dropped the action, however, and the two composers remained close friends.

Ibert's Quatre Chansons were written to sixteenth century French poems by Ronsard and Alexandre Arnoux, but the extensive use of guitar, reed instruments, and metric asymmetry lend them a distinctly Spanish flavor. Together, they do a remarkable job of capturing both the story and the spirit of Don Quixote, who is the first-person "voice" of all four songs. The first and last songs of the group, "Chanson du départ" and "Chanson de la mort," are in the style of free and speech-like recitatives; in the first, we are introduced to Quixote's unique perspective on the world: his lady lives in a grand castle, fortified against vice and which one may only enter if he has proved himself worthy. The last is a tender farewell by Quixote's to his faithful sidekick, Sancho; although dying, Don Quixote is going somewhere pure and without lies. The middle two songs, "Chanson à Dulcinée" and "Chanson du Duc," are more vigorous and rhythmic. Number two is an anthem of impatient love; each hour is a day, each minute an hour in which he cannot see his Dulcinée. The third is an ode to the purifying and elevating effects of love, delivered in the noblest of melodic styles.

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