Labelling Beethoven’s Für Elise a mere trifle may seem insulting to such a family identify and piano solo favorite. However that’s precisely what his Bagatelle No. 25 in A minor is, ’une bagatelle’ translating from the French as ’a mere matter’. This weblog examines the recipes composers have used for a choice of bagatelles over the eras. As is likely to be anticipated, many ’trifles’ are executed and dusted in a matter of a minute or two. However not all.
My first instance (and one of many shortest) is by Bohuslav Martinů, who was born in what’s now the Czech Republic, subsequently moved to Paris in 1923, and from there to the US in 1940 with the strategy of the German armies. It’s subtitled Morceau facile and was written in New York in 1949.
Bagatelle, ‘Morceau facile’ (8.570215)
Should you assume a bit couldn’t get any shorter than that, hear on to the primary motion of Hungarian composer Sándor Balassa’s (1925–2021) Bagatelles and Sequences, Op. 17, which mischievously ends with a cherry on the highest. Or possibly a raspberry. He as soon as wrote a Gallop in 3/4 time, justifying it as being a couple of three-legged horse! Written c. 1953 initially of his college research, the Op. 17 is amongst Balassa’s earliest revealed items when—as he put it himself—he was simply beginning to be taught the alphabet of composition.
Bagatelle No. 1, Op. 17 (GP804)
Now to music by Nicolai Kapustin (1937–2020), whose wealthy pianistic textures span the whole keyboard, with melodies in each register, sweeping arpeggios, tons of chords, and a incredible array of runs. Ukranian born and Moscow educated, Kapustin has Medtner, Rachmaninov and Scriabin in his veins. However the jazz facet is equally genuine, incorporating the fleet pianism of Oscar Peterson and the harmonic volatility and technical exuberance of Artwork Tatum. How do these allusions register with you in his Bagatelle No. 8 (Op. 59), written in 1991?
Bagatelle No. 8 (8.570532)
“Eventually, one thing actually new.” That’s how Ferrucio Busoni described Béla Bartók’s Fourteen Bagatelles, Op. 6 which Bartók composed in 1908. This was a time when he had been spurned in love by the violinist Stefi Geyer; maybe they helped him rework his desolation at her rejection into one thing extra optimistic. The bagatelles show, in embryonic kind, lots of the qualities related to Bartók’s mature type. The ultimate one within the set, nonetheless, appears to go off at a tangent. Examine and distinction No. 3 with No. 14, subtitled Valse (M’amie qui danse…).
Bagatelle No. 3 (8.573224)
Bagatelle No. 14 (8.573224)
In slight distinction to the solo piano extracts heard up to now, I’ve turned to a bit for violin and piano by Francis Poulenc. It’s a transcription of the Bagatelle from his cantata Le bal masqué. To say that the violin wasn’t Poulenc’s favorite instrument could be an understatement. “Nothing is farther from human breath than the bow-stroke”, he as soon as exclaimed to the music critic Claude Tostand. His chamber music was largely dedicated to wind devices and piano, and infrequently ventured into the much less acquainted medium of string devices. He gave us just one sonata for violin and piano, plus one for cello and piano. As for his string quartet—“the shame of my life”—it ended up down a drain within the Place Péreire someday in 1947. Right here, nonetheless, is the violin and piano transcription of the Bagatelle referred to above.
Bagatelle from Le bal masqué (8.553612)
Émile Waldteufel (1837–1915) ultimately established himself in Paris and London as a number one composer of dance music—the French equal of Johann Strauss. Whereas a pupil on the Paris Conservatoire, his household’s dance orchestra was turning into one of many best-known within the metropolis, more and more in demand for society balls; from 1867 the Waldteufel orchestra performed at Napoleon III’s magnificent court docket balls on the Tuileries. But Émile’s dances remained identified by a comparatively restricted viewers till he was virtually forty. In 1874 he occurred to be acting at an occasion attended by the Prince of Wales, the long run King Edward VII, who complimented Waldteufel on his music and agreed to assist launch his works in London.
The end result was a long-term publishing contract with the London agency of Hopwood & Crew. Avenues opened up and Waldteufel went on to seek out worldwide fame. Although waltzes had been his forte, his contract with Hopwood & Crew additionally anticipated him to produce polkas and different small items. Certainly one of his final for the writer was the Bagatelle, Polka which we finish with right now. So, dig into your final piece of trifle, however notice that you just most likely gained’t want any additional sugar on Waldteufel’s confection.
Bagatelle, Polka (8.223688)