Paul Dukas: Fanfare from La Péri

Context

Paul Dukas composed the music for the 1912 ballet La Péri just the year before and was initially titled Poème dansé en un tableau. The last published work from Dukas, the music is said to be some of his most mature and skilled works. The rich Romantic style of the score for this ballet is something that Dukas was commended for, as he always mixed in his love for Impressionism and current French music. 

 

The Music

The Fanfare, which is written just for the brass section, is heard before the ballet begins, as like a bold introduction to the story. The brilliance of the fanfare has made it one of the stand-out aspects of the score, with it often being performed as a stand alone work. 

The bold forte opening is rich in Romantic tonal harmony and clar double and triple tonguing from all the parts. Parts of the fanfare are played in unison, showing the strength within the section. Other sections are carefully woven together by Dukas as melodies interlock and harmonies begin to rub. 

After the general pause a slightly moodier section ensues. Full of tied notes and syncopated movement, the music quickly builds back into the opening fanfare theme. The Fanfare finishes with a unison pattern that slows down into the final three big chords, which are decorated by the top two trumpets.

 

Final Thoughts

The Fanfare from Paul Dukas’ ballet La Péri is bold, brilliant and very grandiose in style. Dukas’ clear writing for the brass creates such a piercing effect that it is an idea work to start a show with.

 

Happy Reading!

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You might also enjoy… Malcolm Arnold: Brass Quintet No.1

 

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