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Thread: Vincent d'Indy Orchestral works

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyjo View Post
    The Symphony on a French Mountain Air is by far my favorite work of his, a gorgeously melodic work.
    Having listened to D'Indy's Symphony on a French Mountain Air (1887) again, I certainly agree with your endorsement! All three movements are evocative and the piano writing is brilliant. In the later 19th century the concerto was out of favour among many French composers, seen as a shallow and vulgar virtuoso vehicle. So there were a lot of concertante pieces written, e.g. several by Fauré, Chausson's Poème, and Chaminade's Konzertstücke, not to mention the Symphonic Variations by D'Indy's teacher Cesar Franck (1885). As a symphony with piano solo D'Indy's work was virtuosic but also innovative and musically rich. I especially like the old recording by the Philadelphia Orchestra/Ormandy with Robert Casadessus, himself a noted composer, as soloist. That wonderful large string section is what the work needs!

    Also, I hear the Symphony on a French Mountain Air as late romantic, D'Indy's Second Symphony (1904) as post-romantic. It is more questioning and enigmatic, though with an upbeat ending. The composer travelled a long way in 17 years.
    Last edited by Roger Knox; Dec-03-2020 at 04:12.

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  3. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Knox View Post
    I listened to it again yesterday and am still very fond of D'Indy's Second Symphony, also did some reading. I think the fugato for strings near the opening of the last movement is superb. The buildup of energy toward the end, and the great chorale, also. From my reading, one point of importance is that D'Indy's use of the cyclic principle is different than his teacher Franck's. While Franck would bring back themes from earlier movements in the finale, D'Indy would use motives from a theme, then vary them and use them in different ways throughout the work (which may contribute to a sense of academicism). At the same time his technically advanced style of French Wagner-influenced Romanticism shows great variety and originality in the harmonization, texture, and orchestration of passages (that I find appealing). D'Indy's Christianity is woven into his compositions, not as mysticism á la Tournemire or Messiaen, but according to his rather strict ideas related to Scholastic philosophy (Aquinas). He explains this in his Cours de composition complète. For a simple example, there is the battle of good and evil in a progression from darkness to light (orchestral works always beginning in the lowest register and ending with a blazing fortissimo in a high-register). I think D'Indy's tendency to rigidity became toxic in his anti-semitic attitudes and writings. That is one reason why his music does not get played or recorded by top orchestras.
    Thanks for the detailed response - very interesting. I did very much like the triumphant ending of the symphony, but found much of what comes before a bit too emotionally subdued for my tastes. I'll have to give it another go someday!

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