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Pavane, reinterpretting Gabriel Fauré, from "Impressions of Water & Light"

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Published on Apr 21, 2015

Fifth in my series from "Impressions of Water & Light", pairing my interpretation of "Pavane" (by the French composer Gabriel Fauré) with the artwork of Degas and Matisse.

Written in 1887, "Pavane" was originally a piano piece, but became better known after Fauré arranged it for orchestra and optional chorus. Devastatingly simple, with a gorgeous melody, it inspired both Ravel and Debussy to write a pavane of their own (I include Ravel's version on the CD as well). My first verse speaks to the "romantic helplessness of man", which is the subject of the choral lyrics. When the jazz progressions kick in during the later verses, they serve as examples of uncertainty, of struggle, of searching. I quote Fauré's original piano in my final verse; I thought it dramatic to place it last, as a cleansing statement of purity, as if innocence survived. Since a pavane is a slow dance, I use Degas' images of ballet and country dances, and the sprirtual dancers of Matisse.

To read more about "Impressions of Water & Light" and hear more music from that project, please see www.tobinmueller.com

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