Paul Dukas wrote his Villanelle as a demanding exam piece for the horn class of the Paris Conservatoire in 1906. The title, referencing a cheerful traditional vocal genre that originated in 16th century Italy, already shows that it is by no means a dry etude. Alongside the technical challenges (stopped notes, fast scales, playing without valves using natural horn techniques), the piece is successful because of its refreshing melodies, for which reason the Villanelle is still one of the most popular performance pieces for the horn. For our Urtext edition we consulted the autograph as well as the first edition that was originally for horn and piano: the later version with orchestral accompaniment does not stem from the composer.
1906 was a very busy year for Paul Dukas (1865–1935): Ariane et BarbeBleue, the opera project on which he had been working for many years and whose rough draft he had completed in the winter of 1905–06, was accepted by the Opéra-Comique in Paris for its world-première production in spring 1907. This meant that he had very little time to complete the full score and vocal … more
About the composer
A French composer and music critic. His reflections on musical aesthetics constitute an important contemporary document for better understanding his era. Among his Impressionist compositions are to be found works for orchestra, piano and chamber pieces, and vocal music.
|1865||Born in Paris on October 1.|
|from1881||Studies harmony with Théodore Dubois and piano with George-Amadée Mathias at the Paris Conservatoire.|
|from 1883||He meets Claude Debussy in Ernest Guiraud’s composition class.|
|1884||His overture “Goetz de Berlichingen” is premiered.|
|from1889||Unsuccessful attempts at the Grand Prix de Rome prompt him to leave the Conservatoire.|
|1892||His overture “Polyeucte” celebrates its Paris premiere. He emerges as a music critic for the Revue hebdomadaire.|
|1897||On May 18, his best-known work, “L’Apprenti sorcier” (“The Sorceror’s Apprentice”) is premiered at the Société Nationale.|
|from 1900–07||In his most creative phase of composition, works like the “Variations, interlude et finale sur un thème de Rameau” and opera “Ariane et Barbe-Bleue” (“Ariane and Bluebeard”) are written.|
|1910–13||Professor of orchestration at the Paris Conservatoire.|
|1923–32||Writes works on pedagogy and music history.|
|1928||He teaches composition at the Paris Conservatoire and at the École Normale. Using the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, he communicates primarily historical styles. Olivier Messiaen and Maurice Duruflé are among his students.|
|1934||He becomes a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts.|
|1935||Dies in Paris on May 17.|
About the authors
Diese Urtextausgabe sollte unbedingt benutzt werden, wenn man sich mit diesem Werk befasst – denn sie stützt sich auf Dukas Autograph sowie auf die Erstausgabe in der Originalbesetzung für Horn und Klavier.