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album art Souvenirs de Munich - based on themes from Tristan & Isolde
by KeithOtis

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Song Information

Released: Apr 10, 2018 | 9:43 PM
Category: Classical
Application: [unknown]
Loop Use: Some loops

File Type: .mp3 [use AAC]
File Size: 8.95 MB

Plays: 146
Downloads: 0
Weekly Plays: 1
Weekly Downloads: 0
Statistic reset day: Tuesday

License: Commercial derivatives allowed; contact artist for permission
The entire title of this novelty piece by Emmanuel Chabrier is Souvenirs de Munich: Fantasie en forme de quadrille sur les thèmes de Tristan & Isolde. If you look up the word quadrille you'll discover that it's an European square dance. What can a square dance have to do with the melodramatic opera by Richard Wagner?

Chabrier (1841-1894) wrote the piano piece in the 1880s after attending a performance of Tristan & Isolde in Munich. Chabrier was moved to tears by the operatic love story, but when he returned home, he wrote this burlesque, a pastiche of the various themes from the opera. It was a curious thing to do. Rather than writing a tribute to Wagner's masterpiece, it was as if he instead squirted Wagner in the face with a seltzer bottle. Wagner's favorite conductor, Hans von Bülow, became enraged when he heard Chabrier perform this parody, but Francis Poulenc described Souvenirs de Munich as "irresistibly funny", where Wagner's principal themes appear with "false beards and fake moustaches."

I enjoy the piece and had arranged it for wind band some years ago, but it never sold, because I had violated the rule the great Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) laid down for his composition students: If you can't play the music yourself, you have no business writing it. The original is filled with rapid keyboard runs and sextuplets, so what you hear here is a highly simplified version of the piece . . . although I hope it still sounds like a square dance.

The five movements (joined by brief transitions of my own hand) are:
I. PANTALON (trousers)
II. ÉTÉ (summer)
III. POULE (hen)
V. GALOP (a Galop was a popular 19th-century dance)

The sounds are by the Note Performer sample library from the Swedish company Wallander Instruments, mixed in with sounds kindly provided by the talented Steve Martin. I recommend Note Performer for users of Sibelius notation software, because of its remarkable ease of use.

The sheet music (score and parts) is available at a modest fee from either Sheet_Music_Plus or The_Score_Exchange.

If you are really bored or are in a condition similar to that of the late Stephen Hawking (who was a devoted lover of Wagner's music), you might try listening to an entire recording of Tristan & Isolde and pick out the melodies Chabrier used in this piece. (Good luck! I've never made it through the whole opera.)

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falconep Artist

falconep's artist icon
Nice organ/orchestra sounds. Easy to see why a Wagner devotee would think this unbearable... too much fun. I couldn't even make it through the movie of T&I (2006 w/Franco & Myles), so the opera would be out of the question. When I considered composition software I decided against Note Performer in favor of MuseScore; but I rarely use it anymore. Pretty sure Hindemith would disapprove of my method of composing-by-painting-notes inside a midi grid. Practicing & performing is tedious when there so many ideas to turn into music smiley
Thanks - Phil
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14 days ago

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