La Maison dans les Dunes: Final Bachelor Exam Kees Kruit 19:30, 3 Juni 2021 Live vanuit de Sweelinckzaal, Conservatorium van Amsterdam Afbeelding: Eugène Louis Boudin, Les dunes à Etaples Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin (1810-1849) Barcarolle in Fis, Opus 60 Gabriel Édouard Xavier Dupont (1878-1914) La Maison Dans Les Dunes: I. Dans les dunes par un clair matin Lent et expressif II. Voiles sur l’eau Modéré III. La maison du souvenir Modérément lent (doux et expressif) IV. Mon frère le Vent et ma soeur la Pluie Très animé V. Mélancolie du bonheur Très modéré VI. Le soleil se joue dans les vagues Vif VII. Le soir dans les pins Modérément lent et expressif VIII. Le Bruissement de la mer, la nuit Lent et calme IX. Clair d’étoiles Très modéré X. Houles Modéré Program Notes Chopin – Barcarolle Chopin has sometimes been called ‘the poet of the piano’, and his Barcarolle is one of the finest examples of this 'musical poetry’. Like he did with other genres, Chopin transcended the models presented by other composers and elevated the genre to a whole new level. Chopin had never visited Venice, but was familiar with barcarolles written by other composers such as Mendelssohn, with his Venetianisiches Gondellied. All the core elements are present such as the rocking 12/8 beat and the double melody in thirds and sixths, but Chopin adds much more; Barcarolle alternates between poetic reflection and passionate outburtsts, and is a display of the full range of Chopin's muscial sensibility. It is no big surprise that Barcarolle has claimed its place as one of the most revered works in the piano literature. Dupont – La Maison dans les Dunes Gabriel Édouard Xavier Dupont was born in 1878 in Caen. His father, organist of the Church of Saint-Pierre, gave him his first music lessons. He was admitted to the Paris Conservatory at age 15, where he studied with Jules Massenet and Charles-Marie Widor. In 1901 he competed for the Prix de Rome while performing military service. He was awarded second prize, behind André Caplet, but notably ahead of his much more famous contemporary Maurice Ravel, who was awarded third prize that year. Like Chopin, Dupont was a man of poor health. When on the verge of launching a big career, Dupont was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1903. That disease would ultimately cause his death, just over a decade later. Because of his poor health, Dupont spent considerable time in wellness homes and retreats for periods of rest. These experiences form the genesis of Dupont's two expansive cycles for piano solo: Les Heures Dolentes (1903-1905), and later La Maison dans les Dunes (1906-1909). Both are autobiographical depictions of his time spent in retreats in Le Vésinet (west of Paris), and Cap Ferret on the Atlantic coast near Bordeaux. Les Heures Dolentes tells the story of a patient confined to bed, observing the world around him. The cycle gradually grows in intensity, at times relieved by episodes of consolation such as a friend bringing flowers, or the depiction of children playing outside. The climax comes in the peniultimate movement, Nuite Blanche – Hallucinations, conveying the terror of disease. By contrast, La Maison dans les Dunes is a much more optimistic work, depicting a day on the Atlantic coast of southern France. Starting in the morning, Dupont explores many different themes and colours of coastal live, from sailboats on the water to the waves crashing at night, from sunny moments to big storms, and from melancholy to passionate outbursts. The cycle concludes with Houles, a movement depicting a heavy storm at night. The musical style of Dupont is no doubt influenced by his more famous contemporaries, but he has his own authentic charm. A movement like La soir dans les pins seems more inspired by Fauré, rather than Debussy, and the spectacular finale, Houles is almost reminiscent of Rachminoff. Polyphony is also never far away in La Maison dans les Dunes. Many movements feature countermelodies and imitations. The penultimate movement, Clair d’étoiles, features a lengthy canon in the reprise. Dupont and his music have sadly been mostly forgotten. The announcement of his death was lost in the turmoil of the onset of the first world war. While maybe he wasn't as much a visionary as Debussy, his poor health and early death certainly did not help in making a lasting impact. But it is never too late to rediscover beautiful works of art. I hope that my performance today will help bring these fantastic pieces to more attention.