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Western Flute Suite - Giacomo Puccini

Fantaisie sur La Fanciulla del West
For flute and piano

15,83 €
mode d'édition (version PDF réservée aux particuliers) :

This new Fantasy on Giacomo Puccini's Fanciulla del West is the third in a series of arrangements devoted to the works of a composer who is still too little explored by flautists. It continues his foray into the style of opera paraphrases, a genre that was very much in vogue in the salons of the second half of the 19th century.

After the composition of his Madame Butterfly, Puccini set out to find a new subject. He left Italy for a trip through the United States, during which he attended a performance of "The Girl of the Golden West", a play by the American author David Belasco. The theme of his next work was thus found: the California gold rush of the 1850s. The plot, similar to that of Tosca, focuses on three main characters: Minnie, manager of the Polka saloon, falls in love with a certain Dick Johnson, an assumed name under which the much sought-after bandit Ramerrez hides. Sheriff Jack Rance, also very much in love with Minnie, comes to thwart this love story. In La Fanciulla del West, there is no final tragedy: Puccini opts for a "Happy End", American style!

La Fanciulla del West premiered on December 10, 1910 at the Metropolitan Opera in New York under the direction of Toscanini. Although full of poetry, this opera will never have the success of its three elders. Indeed, distancing himself from the bel canto, so much awaited by the public, the composer offers to the orchestra, in a certain way, the main role.  

If the impressionist elements are already very present in Madame Butterfly, the Fanciulla del West reveals the strong influence of Debussy in Puccini's language, allowing him to free himself from the Wagnerian heritage. Once again stimulated by the exoticism of his subject, the Tuscan composer's imagination is invigorated by his research into the Indian and American folk heritage of the Far West. The abundance of tonal scales and augmented fifth chords structure the harmonic language here, reaching the limits of tonality. La Fanciulla del West is without doubt the most modern of all his operas.

Like the fantasies on Tosca or Madame Butterfly, the "Western Flute Suite" immediately immerses the listener in the general atmosphere of the original opera, by taking up the main thematic contours. In particular, you will be able to rediscover the theme of the introduction to the first act, Rance's aria, as well as Johnson's arrival at the saloon, embodied by syncopated motifs that are very symptomatic of the music of that era.  The waltz, emblematic of the budding love between Minnie and Johnson, is presented in the form of a large variation, giving pride of place to the instrumental virtuosity and expressiveness of the flutist.


Paris, le 25 mars 2021
Laëtitia Brault et Jean-Christophe Maltot


Arrangement: Jean-Christophe Maltot

Duration: 11'

For flute and piano

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