by Cecile Chaminade, arr. Patrick J. Burns (Grade 4)
Cecile Louise Stephanie Chaminade (1857-1944) was a virtuoso pianist and and an extraordinarily prolific composer, producing over 400 works nearly all of which were published during her lifetime. Although she composed pieces in a variety of genres from large orchestral works to more intimate pieces for voice and piano (about 100 of those), she is best remembered today for her solo piano music, perhaps with one notable exception – the Concertino for Flute and Piano, Op. 107 (1902), which remains her most performed composition.
I ran across Cortège while studying a number of the composer’s solo piano pieces in the summer of 2013. Chaminade manages to cover a vast degree of musical ground in only about four minutes in this delightful miniature; a fanfare-like motive and three main tunes dominate the piece in a tightly woven formal structure typical of music composed in this time period (around 1912). Chaminde’s affinity for imitative counterpoint is expressed through her highly adept fugal treatment of the third main tune of the piece, which first appears at measure 39 and returns in even more intricate form later on in the work. The piece, then, is possessed of two distinct characters – one playful and jaunty, and the other serious and demanding.
My arrangement attempts to preserve, as closely as possible, the linear integrity and voicing used by the composer in the original work for solo piano. I changed as little as possible throughout the piece, and my orchestration technique is meant only to bring forth what I believe to be Chaminade’s original musical aim. It’s my hope that many bands and audience members will enjoy this little gem and all it has to offer.
Patrick J. Burns