The Department of Fine Arts and the Office of Research Services are proud to host a CD launch for Professor Steven Peacock and Gerry Van Wart’s Pavane Friday, October 20 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm, McCain Hall, room 101.
 
Liner Notes
 
The pavane—a slow, stately processional dance popular in the courts of Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries with origins in Padua ("paduana" being an equivalent form) is for a modern audience perhaps most closely associated with Gabriel Faure's Pavane, which appears here, and with Maurice Ravel's Pavane pour une infante défunte, even though the word was widely used as a title by Renaissance and early Baroque guitar and lute composers throughout Europe, and most notably among English virginal and lute composers such as Morley, Gibbons, Dowland and Byrd. For Ravel, his piece was "an evocation of a pavane that a little princess might, in former times, have danced at the Spanish court," thus expressing a nostalgic enthusiasm for Spanish customs and sensibilities which Fauré and Debussy certainly shared.  But to the 21st-century listener, there is also a certain French style, a distinct "belle époque" elegance within which the word and the form flourished among late-Romantic French composers.
 
This two-guitar recording seeks to celebrate several distinctly different examples of the French tradition in Western music: harpsichord works by Rameau, Couperin and Daquin arranged here by Miklós Mosóczi, the eponymous work by Fauré, and two titles in a more contemporary popular style by Thierry Tisserand.  Rameau's "Les tendres plaintes" and the famous "Tambourin" are drawn from his Pièces de clavecin (1724), one of his four published collections of solo harpsichord works, loosely grouped into key-specific suites.  The pieces by Daquin and Couperin (who also published four harpsichord books, comprising 27 Ordres) share with Rameau the picturesque and fanciful titles common among late-16th-century lutenists and widely adopted by the French clavecinistes in the generation which followed.  Fauré's Pavane, opus 50, in F sharp minor, adapted for this recording from an arrangement by Argentinian guitarist-composer Jorge Martinez Zárate, was originally a piano piece but is better known in Fauré's own version for small orchestra and optional chorus.
 
J. S. Bach's English Suite No. 3, BWV 808 (adapted by the performers from an arrangement by Elias Barreiro), would seem to be the stylistic exception here, except that Bach shows a clear predilection for the French style in his ornamentation, rhythms and dance-movement structure in all six English Suites, as a carry-over from the six French Suites, the word "English" perhaps a reflection of the patron at hand rather than of inherent musical style. The Banks of Loch Erin, which precedes the Bach in this sequence, is a modern arrangement by the performers of an 18th-century Irish folk song which can be seen to share the melodic, textural and harmonic stage with many a Baroque conception; one thinks, for example, of the compositions of Turlough O'Carolan (1670-1738), considered by many to be Ireland's national composer, a kind of Irish Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741).
 
It is impossible to resist, even in a project such as this one, an overtly non-French piece or two.  Canción de amor brings us--intensely, lyrically--to the heart of the Iberian peninsula and is an arrangement of a traditional Spanish melody, with the first guitar part completely reworked by Gerry Van Wart and the second guitar part arranged largely by Jean-Maurice Mourat.  El Elegante begins in a similarly lyrical fashion but soon becomes an unmistakably Brazilian dance--a bold excuse for each guitarist to improvise an energetic solo, as the title, roughly translated as The Dandy, would seem to require.