Musgrave Piccolo Play In Homage to Couperin-Piccolo and Piano


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Musgrave Piccolo Play In Homage to Couperin-Piccolo and Piano

Musgrave Piccolo Play In Homage to Couperin-Piccolo and Piano



3-La Pateline
4-Les Papillons
5-Le Reveil-matin
6-Le Bruit de Guerre
7-Le Turbulent


The titles of the movements are all taken from harpsichord pieces of Couperin. In each movement, the piccolo is the protagonist of the title and the piano provides the ‘setting’ or the background.

‘L’Amphibie’: The piano represents the pool on which the frog leaps from leaf to leaf, disturbing the water as he goes.

‘Le Reveil-matin’: The piano is the one who sleeps and the piccolo is the alarm clock that forces him to wake. In ‘La Pateline’ (the wheedler), the piccolo is softly insistent but ultimately becomes angry as his pleas are disregarded.

The musical idea for ‘Le Bruit de Guerre’ was suggested by Manet’s ‘The Fifer’. Here both instruments play march music with the piano also suggesting the bass drum and the snare drum accompaniment.

The combination of different marches becomes increasingly anarchic and innocence (suggested by the portrait of the fifer) is overwhelmed. The end is silence with distant echoes of the Dies Irae.

Thea Musgrave

Thea Musgrave (b. 1928) holds a prominent position as a respected Scottish-American composer renowned for her expressive and powerful musical language. Her compositions receive global acclaim, finding a place in major concert halls and festivals. Musgrave’s music embodies inventive clarity, masterful orchestrations, and captivating communication, continually pushing the boundaries of instrumental performance.

Her diverse works range from abstract concertos like the Clarinet Concerto and Horn Concerto to programmatic pieces inspired by paintings, poems, and Greek legends. Some of her compositions even incorporate spatial acoustics, creating a unique and immersive experience for the audience.

Over the past four decades, Musgrave has also contributed several operas, displaying her remarkable versatility and creativity. Her significant contributions to contemporary music have earned her numerous awards and honours, including two Guggenheim Fellowships, the Ivors Classical Music Award 2018, and The Queen’s Medal for Music. She was appointed a CBE in 2002.

Recent retrospectives, such as the BBC’s Total Immersion Weekend and the Stockholm International Composer Festival, have provided a platform to showcase the immense diversity of her music. Musgrave’s compositions continue to captivate audiences worldwide, establishing her as an influential and celebrated composer.

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