German composer Richard Strauss was an old hand at classical parody by the time he was commissioned by the Vienna Staatsoper to compose a work to be performed in the Redoutensaal of the Imperial Palace in 1920. Strauss had set Molière's play Le bourgeois gentilhomme (1918) to faux-French music and his opera Ariadne auf Naxos (1911-1912) is itself a highly elevated pastiche. In the Dance Suite, Strauss took pieces composed by the greatest of the French clavecinists, François Couperin, and orchestrated them in a stylized manner that joined Strauss' orchestral sensibility with his idiosyncratic understanding of French Baroque performance practice. The result is a work that is no longer either Couperin's nor yet wholly Strauss', but a charming mixture of both. The movements of the Dance Suite are as follows: "Einzug und feierlicher Reigen" (Entry and Solemn Round), a stately double-dotted French overture followed by a majestic Round dance; "Courante," a minor-keyed dance for string orchestra later joined by solo trumpet; "Carillon," a beguiling dance for celesta and harpsichord; "Sarabande," severe outer sections flanking a more serene central section; "Gavotte," a lightly scored pseudo-trio sonata movement for viola, flute, and harpsichord with a trio for oboes and bassoon; "Tourbillion" is a rushing contrapuntal piece for small string orchestra and harpsichord with a slower and more graceful trio for solo violin, solo viola, and harp; "Allemande," a festive dance for brass and strings; and "Marche," a short, quick march movement starting with strings, harpsichord, and celesta ending with the whole orchestra.
Description by James Leonard
- Einzug und feierlicher Reigen
- Gavotte (with two trios)
- Allemande et Menuet
|1992||EMI Music Distribution||64350|
|EMI Music Distribution||68742|