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Monday, April 21, 2008

Track 3 - 'Arrival' - Jean Absil

The third track on 'Arrival' is 'Musette' by Jean Absil.

A musette is a dance-like piece of music, pastoral in nature, whose style is suggestive of the musette, or bag-pipe.
In this context though, the musette isn't actually a bag-pipe (you may, or, may not be pleased to hear) but is referring to the pedal tone in the bass line, which continues throughout the outer sections of the piece. The haunting and meandering melody intones above this fairly static and hypnotic accompaniment.

Jean Absil (1893-1974) was a Belgian composer who studied the organ, piano and harmony.
Although Absil did initially perform on the organ, he decided to concentrate on composition, winning the Agniez Prize in 1921 for his First Symphony, and in 1922, his cantata 'La guerre' took the second Belgiun Prix de Rome.

For many years Absil taught in various conservatories, but it was not until 1938 that his piano concerto brought him international recognition.
Absil was initially greatly influenced by Wagner and Strauss and it was only in his post 1934 works that his more individual style emerged.
After 1938 he attempted to make his work more accessible whilst still retaining the folk-like themes.

The Musette is a slightly enigmatic piece which provides an oasis of calm when heard in its original context between two highly energetic movements and between the more vibrant pieces on this recording....

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