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Catalogue
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COMPOSERS

Paul Abraham Dukas

Paul Abraham Dukas

Ariane et Barbe-Bleue  Gran Teatre del Liceu  18-06-2011
Paul Abraham Dukas
Gran Teatre del Liceu
2011

Paul Abraham Dukas' life

Paul Abraham Dukas was born in Paris in 1865 in a Jewish family. The father is a banker and the mother a great pianist. In a time where French musicians are divided in conservative and progressive factions, Dukas doesn't recognize himself in any of these, but manages to gain admiration from both sides.He becomes popular as professor of composition at the Conservatoire de Paris, where he has studied and at Ecole Normale De Musique, and as musical critic. He commits to add value to Wagner's musical style, choice made by other composers of his time, introducing the so called “impressionistic dictation” in the musical structure, merging an excellent technical ability with a great creativity, typical of the era and becoming a leading figure of “Musical Impressionism”.
His urge leans toward a creative freedom, the same we'll after recognize in Debussy, his student, to whom he was used to say to compose with the heart and not with the mind. His works come from an extraordinary and original imagination, so much that his most famous work, L'apprenti sorcier, is then used in 1940's animation cartoon by Walt Disney, Fantasia. He also writes an opera, Ariane et Barbe-bleue, inspired by a poem by Maurice Maeterlinck. The opera is characterized by symbols and esoteric figures. Although Dukas writes a fair bit of musical pieces, he is a perfectionist and many works are discarded due to his dissatisfaction. He dies in Paris in 1935.

Dukas' Operas

Among his works there is only one opera,Ariane et Barbe-bleue (1899–1907).
Other works: Polyeucte, overture for orchestra (1891), Symphony in C (1895–96), L'apprenti sorcier, fororchestra (1897), Piano Sonata in E-flat minor (1899–1900), Villanelle, for horn and piano (1906), Prélude élégiaque sur le nom de Haydn, for piano (1909), Vocalise-étude (alla gitana), for voice and piano (1909), La Péri, ballet (poème dansé) (1911), La plainte, au loin, du faune..., for piano (1920), Amours, sonnet for voice and piano (1924), Allegro, for piano (1925).

Curiosities

Dukas' Ariane et Barbe-bleue

Ariane et Barbe-Bleu by Paul Dukas (1907) is a symbolist opera which is often paired to Pélleas et Mélisande by Debussy. In this opera too there's a character with very long hair, called Mélisande, and here too, there's the theme of conflict between light and darkness, together with a resigned passivity towards one's destiny. Ariane is the real protagonist of the opera, which is centred on her character. The orchestration is also rich, difficult and in some ways inclined to prevail on the voices. It is a sort of symphonic panel accompanied by the voice; a great instrumental refinement over colourful timbers and polished sound effects, determining an interesting piece of music.
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