Daydreaming with a little known French sextet

Morning charm. © Charles Thibo

Horns. You will ask: Again? Let me tell you, autumn is the time of the horns. At sunrise I am riding through the woods and fields, through the morning fog, and I am sounding my horn, and when the horse is exhausted, I will stop at a willow tree, take out a book with German poems and sit down. I will enjoy the peace, the fresh air, the solitude, and I will abandon myself to a moment of daydreaming.

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Visiting a place I had seen in my dreams 

Scotland SaintSaens Sym3
Flying into happiness. © Charles Thibo

When I was very young, one of my favourite books was a youth novel written by Enid Blyton: The Sea of Adventures. Four children and a British intelligence officer chase weapon smugglers somewhere in Northern Scotland. The Hebrides, the Orkneys. Enid Blyton’s description of the landscape – an archipelago full of sea birds far away from the civilized world – captured my fantasy. Many times I would dream about those islands, wishing to see them for myself, imagining to explore them like Jack, Philipp, Dina, Lucy did, accompanied by the parrot Kiki and their grown-up friend Bill. Endless days of leisure and adventure in the middle of a wonderful natural scenery.

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A comet on the sky of French music

Red glow. © Charles Thibo

If you are old enough, you may remember Laurel and Hardy, two slapstick comedians from the 1920s, whose short movies I saw in the 1970s on TV, all black and white, no spoken words, occasionally subtitled – just as funny and just as sad as Charlie Chaplin. I loved Laurel and Hardy when I was a child, and when I recently listened to the opening bars of Alexis de Castillon’s Piano Trio No. 1 in B flat major (Op. 4) I had to think of the piano music that accompanied the short movies. It made me feel nostalgic for the simplicity of the jokes, the straightforwardness of the arrangement and the unobtrusive piano music that conferred a sense of tragedy, of comedy or simply heightened the tension.

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Lalo explores the cello’s impressive range

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Fading. © Charles Thibo

Those of you who have been following this blog for a while are aware that – being a piano apprentice – I have a soft spot for the cello. I had to discover the broad tonal range of the piano to appreciate the smaller but still impressive range of the cello. It translates into a broad choice of moods from sinister, depressive, to cosy, comfortable and even glorious and triumphant.

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