Two years ago, when I had just started this blog, I presented Felix Mendelssohn incidental music to William Shakespeare’s play “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. Since I first read this play some 20 years ago on a bus stop in Scotland, my vision for the setting of this play has remained the same: a forest with mysterious colored lights twinkling in the darkness, the heavy sweet of smell of flowers in the air, meteorite showers illuminating the nocturnal sky and – music! At that time I was not aware of Mendelssohn’s masterpiece, but once I had heard it my reaction was: Oh yes, this is it, very much so! Mendelssohn set my vision to music.
The sea has inspired many a composer, but how about mountains? Richard Strauss has composed his “Alpensinfonie” and Olivier Messiaen “Chronochromie”, both subject of an earlier post. And then there is Vincent d’Indy with a beautiful symphonic poem: “Jour d’été à la montagne” (Summer day in the mountains), op. 61. The piece is written in three pieces with the thematic ideas following the course of the day: Twilight – Day (Afternoon under the pines) – Evening and partly it takes up Strauss’ language. In a post about d’Indy’s earlier work “Tableaux de voyage” (op. 36) I explained how this French composer wanted to follow in the footsteps of Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner, and d’Indy’s proximity to Strauss should not come as a surprise.
We have been traveling with Franz Liszt and Franz Schubert, and today I will take you on another journey. We shall meet the French composer Vincent d’Indy. He is less known than his colleagues Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy, but his contribution to French classical music is noteworthy.