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Suite française no. 2 pour le clavecin (French Suite No. 2 for Harpsichord) based on Voltaire's Candide

By Joseph Dillon Ford

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Harpsichord - Advanced Intermediate - Digital Download
Composed by Joseph Dillon Ford. 20th Century, Neo-Classical. Score. 15 pages. Published by David Warin Solomons (S0.430587).

Item Number: S0.430587

The French Suite No. 2 in C Minor is a virtuoso keyboard solo whose program elaborates the principal characters and situations in chapter one of Voltaire's philosophically picaresque novel Candide.

1 "Il y avait en Westphalie" ("Once Upon a Time in Westphalia") [Allemande, 4/4, c, D]
The opening allemande conjures up the pomp—and pretension—of the castle of Baron Thunder-ten-Tronch by weaving a web of complex polyphony and glittering ornamentation.

2 "Cunégonde" [Courante, 3/4, c, M]
The second movement is a courante depicting the alluring but ingenuous Cunégonde, daughter of Baron Thunder-ten-Tronch, whose longing for "knowledge" seems to be answered by the opportune presence of the equally naive Candide. The movement is unified by a steady rhythmic pulse and tightly knit yet intensely expressive three-voice counterpoint.

3 "Candide" [Sarabande, 3/4, c, M]
The third movement is a sarabande that paints a portrait of Candide, a sensitive but callow youth in the first flush of manhood. The longest movement in the suite, this music captures the changing moods and perspectives of Candide through striking harmonic inflections, textural variation, and an unusual sectional construction.

4 "Pangloss" [3/4, c, D]
The fourth movement is reduced to two voices, the better to elaborate through intricate figuration and ornamentation the pedagogical pretensions of Pangloss, tutor to Candide and Cunégonde. His indiscretions with a maid in the Baron's employ set a dangerous example for his pupils that will change their lives forever. Voltaire brilliantly exploits the character of Pangloss to ridicule Leibnizian optimism.

5 "La raison suffisante" ("Sufficient Reason") [4/4, c, M]
The fifth movement conceals the unspoken passions of Candide and Cunégonde under a thin veneer of rational order, until at last a wordless recitative seems to clarify what speech and reason alone could not properly express. The two-voice texture makes for a more intimate and pictorial representation, which is distinguished by imitative turns in both voices.

6 "Une leçon de physique expérimentale" ("A Lesson in Experimental Physics") [6/8, c, M+]
M. le baron de Thunder-ten-tronckh passa auprès du paravent, et voyant cette cause et cet effet, chassa Candide du château à grands coups de pied dans le derrière.
"Monsieur the Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh passed near the screen, and seeing this cause and effect, chased Candide from the castle with great kicks to the behind."

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