Symphony on a French Mountain Air

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The Symphony on a French Mountain Air (French: Symphonie sur un chant montagnard français ), Op. 25, written in 1886 by Vincent d'Indy, is virtually the only work by the composer that still receives regular performances today.

As indicated by the title, d'Indy took the principal theme from a folk song he heard at Périer overlooking the Cévennes mountains (hence the work's alternative name, Symphonie cévenole). Originally conceived as a fantaisie for piano and orchestra, the symphony is unusual in that it is scored for a prominent (but never dominant) piano part together with orchestra, and has acquired the label sinfonia concertante from some critics.

It consists of three movements and lasts just under half an hour:

  • Assez lent - Modérément animé
  • Assez modéré, mais sans lenteur
  • Animé

The symphony begins with an evocative melody played first by a cor anglais. The main themes of subsequent movements are based on this melody, and as the symphony progresses each subsequent variation becomes more and more like the original version.

The work was dedicated to Marie-Léontine Bordes-Pène, who was the soloist at the premiere in Paris on March 20, 1887.[1]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ Eric Blom, ed., Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 5th ed, 1954, Vol. I, p. 814

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