"Friandises" (French for "bits" or "morsels") was composed on a joint commission from the New York City Ballet and the Juilliard School (on the occasion of its centenary). Although a number of my concert works had been choreographed over the years, this was my first opportunity to compose music intended from the start for physical movement. The result is akin to a baroque French suite in five movements that contains no specific narrative elements.
The initial "intrada" is the least "French" in conception, intended as something of a clarion call for the remainder of the piece. The "sicilienne" makes use of the dotted rhythm common to this dance, while reference to over-the-bar syncopations make the third movement recognizable as a "passepied." The "sarabande" is the most reflective of the movements, and it often either stretches or condenses that dance's traditional 3/2 meter. The finale is a lighthearted "galop" meant to end the work with a large dose of razzle-dazzle.
"Friandises", completed in Baltimore on September 17, 2005, may also be performed as a concert work. It is scored for two flutes (2nd doubling piccolo), two oboes, two clarinets (2nd doubling bass clarinet), two bassoons, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion (one player), harp, and strings.
© 2005 by Christopher Rouse
These program notes can be reproduced free of charge with the following credit:
Reprinted by kind permission of Christopher Rouse
"...loud, brash and invigorating." (Click to read the entire article)
"...builds from jazz-inflected ballet to razzle-dazzle technical display." (Click to read the entire article)
"...a rousing, 25-minute ballet score, whose forms wink at the French baroque but whose high energy athleticism, spidery lines, percussive thwacks and moments of repose are rendered in a wholly contemporary and immediately engaging language."
"In five sections, the music alternately suggests the excitement of living, full-out, at the edge of doom and an idyllic sweetness that exists only in the imagination." (Click to read the entire article)
"The music is engaging and interesting, dance-like in its suite form, and certainly one of the best things he has done." (Click to read the entire article)