4 Nocturnes op 37
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2 fl + piccolo, 2 hautb. + cor ang, 2 clar. en sib + Clar. basse, 2 bassons + contrebasson, 2 cors en fa, 2 trompettes en ut, Timbales, 2 percus., 1 harpe, 12 premiers violons, 10 seconds violons, 6 altos, 6 violoncelles, 4 contrebasses dont 2 à 5 cordes

(2009 / 2011)

The work was composed in Spring 2009. It is connected with the French orchestral tradition. The nature and paintings by Nicolas de Staël were the main sources of inspiration of the composer.
Cheerful chords strikes in the 1st and 4th Nocturne, the singing of the horn in the 2nd Nocturne, rustling wind in the 3rd and birdsong in the 4th. These are the main characteristics of the work which aims to be poetic, accompanied by a serene and energetic writing. The first Nocturne begins with ample arrangements entrusted to the stings, surrounded by short melodic fragments spread to the winds. The trumpet, followed by tissue harmonics given by the whole orchestra, gives a 2nd thematic element. A more rhythmic 2nd part is given to the winds and brass, supported by pizzicato strings. The final section presents the re- arrangements of the beginning and the 1st movement ends in a calm and serene atmosphere.
The second Nocturne suggests a melodic theme introduced by the horn. It will be developed by the winds and the trumpet and is then taken by the bass while the brass and winds play in a deep range. Part 2 develops a topic surrounded by short chords distributed to the orchestra. At the coda we will find the theme given to the trumpet and the horn, surrounded by the strings. The 3rd Nocturne is constructed on a double canon of the strings. After the exposure there is an instrumental change. The coda of the 3rd movement offers a harmonization of the canon theme.
In the beginning of the 4th Nocturne the atmosphere is harmonic. A new ground characteristically sign is given by the flutes. Alternating between harmonic passages and plaintive motif will be presented throughout this 4th movement by various instruments. It ends on cheerful chords in a sustained and light shade.


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(c) Florentine Mulsant, 2012