French suite : for piano
by Justin McKay (2014)
Composed in November 2014, French Suite is in a familiar
form. From the florid and ornate Sarabande to the entertaining
Passepied, each of the seven movements develops a different meter
and character. Oscillating between G Major and g minor, with one
excursion to e minor (Le Couperin, a tribute to the French master
François Couperin), the suite displays an updated attitude toward
ancient dance forms.
The Allemande is lyrical and rhythmically square. The Courante flighty but mild. The Sarabande is in the usual binary structure, but with written-out repeats with copious ornamentation. The Passepied is playful and rhythmic, played without pedal. Minuet Drôle has a comic element: toward the end the simple melody breaks off abruptly and unexpectedly, mid-phrase. Le Couperin is the most pianistic of the set, calling for 'beacoup de pedale' (lots of pedal). The Gigue mixes elements of two different species of gigue: the jerky French rhythms are juxtaposed upon the gentler Irish rhythms.
Difficulty: Medium — approx. grade 6
Contents note: I. Allemande -- II. Courante -- III. Sarabande -- IV. Passepied -- V. Le Couperin -- VI. Minuet Drôle -- VII. Gigue.
The composer notes the following styles, genres, influences, etc associated with this work:
Suites, Neo-classicism, allemande, courante, sarabande, minuet, passepied, gigue
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