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Rouget - 12 Variations on "La Marseillaise" - Piano Solo

Digital Sheet Music

By Francis Kayali

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Piano Solo - Level 5 - Digital Download
Composed by Francis Kayali. 20th Century, Concert, Contemporary. Score. 17 pages. Francis Kayali #5303589. Published by Francis Kayali (A0.973025).

Item Number: A0.973025

Composed in February 2020, Rougetis a set of 12 variations (or explorations) on the French national anthem, « LaMarseillaise ». The title is a reference to the composer of the hymn,Rouget de Lisle (1760-1836). Since rouget also happens to be the name ofa fish (the red mullet), the title also works as a jesting reference toSchubert, who, with his "Trout" quintet, composed a set of variations on afish-related theme of his own. Textures characteristic of Schubert’s music(e.g., the Impromptu in B flat major Op. 142 No. 3) surface at various timesthroughout this set. 

1. Anticipating that listeners wouldbe quite familiar with it, I chose not to begin with the traditional, unadornedstatement of the theme. Instead, it is introduced in the left hand, but a trillthat increases in intensity soon covers it up, only fading out when there is abreak in the music. Then, the first of many quotations appears, when theMarseillaise’s « entendez-vous dans nos campagnes » is commented on (or perhaps even putin doubt) by a quote from Queen’s "Bohemian Rhapsody": "is this just fantasy?"The narrative returns to "La Marseillaise," but skips directly to the chorus («aux armes,citoyens… »). The chorus’s call to arms givesthe first movement’s title, "all’arme," "to arms!" in Italian, which is theorigin of the word "alarm" in both French and English. The movement is supposedto evoke the image of people being roused as well as a feeling of anxiety.

 2. « Dans unetapisserie fanée » ("ina faded tapestry") evokes a neo-medieval mood, with a quotation of the pavane «Belle qui tiens ma vie » by Thoineau Arbeau (1520-1595) and the first ofseveral allusions in this set to the music of Debussy (in this case, « Lacathédrale engloutie »).

 3. « Cris du cœur et cris d’orfraie »("heartfelt cries and outraged cries") presents warbles that go from beinggraceful to being more coarse. The movement also briefly quotes from the lovesong "Bésame mucho."

 4. « Étincelant » ("sparkly") is thefirst virtuosic treatment of the theme, with angular runs marked by syncopatedaccents, and tremolos textures. At times, the music echoes that of Debussy orRavel.

 5. « Flânerie » ("stroll") evokes thesomewhat bobbing gate of a person out on a walk. There’s a kind of simplicityand a mix between something elegant and the mildly popular and sentimental veinof novelty salon pieces from the early 1900s.

 6. « Ping-pong » accentuatesbounciness of the theme’s march rhythm. Its descending melodic directionpresages the mirror inversion in the upcoming eighth variation. The sound suggeststwo balls bouncing slightly out of synch. The short movement’s relation to thetheme remains very abstract until the last few measures reestablish theconnection clearly.

7. "Zum roten Igel" ("at the redhedgehog" or « Au hérisson rouge » in French) is the name of a restaurantBrahms visited daily. This movement stitches together several characteristicBrahmsian gestures, ending with the quotation of an infamously technicalpassage from Brahms’s "Variations on a theme by Paganini," which involves aseries of octave glissandos.

 8. « Miroir » ("mirror") is a settingof the chromatic mirror inversion of the theme: when the original melody goesup by a half step, the mirrored melody goes down by half step instead, and soforth. The rhythm is generally kept, although it is given a gentler and morerelaxed lilt than in the original march.

 9. In « Monochromie » the theme isstated using just one note (much as in Jobim’s one-note samba). Since therhythm is preserved, listeners familiar with the song can still follow withouttoo much difficulty.

 10. « Chants » superimposes « LaMarseillaise » above the emblemati.

This product was created by a member of ArrangeMe, Hal Leonard’s global self-publishing community of independent composers, arrangers, and songwriters. ArrangeMe allows for the publication of unique arrangements of both popular titles and original compositions from a wide variety of voices and backgrounds.

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