Le Couvent sur l’eau, Fragments symphoniques pour orchestre op. 19
Alfredo Casella – Le Couvent sur l’eau (The Convent on the Water)
(b. Turin, July 25th, 1883 – d. Rome, March 5th, 1947)
Symphonic Fragments for Orchestra op. 19 (1912-1913)
Marche de fête p.1
Ronde d‘enfants p.19
Barcarolle and Sarabande p.35
Pas des vieilles dames p.59
Nocturne and Danse p.71
In two hand written texts (21+26 and I segreti della giara), Alfredo Casella himself illustrates the origin and the features of his composition Le Couvent sur l’eau (i.e. The Convent on the Water) as follows:
“The time for the end of the already faltering opera seemed to have come, especially when the genius of Igor Stravinsky made his appearance. So, to me – considering the scarce interest I had in the opera in general, and especially the Italian one (which, by the way, I did not know very well at all) – the new Slavic name appeared as the religion of the future. So this is how, in these years – to be more precise, in 1911-12 – I decided too to write a ballet in two acts as well, clearly in line with the Russian ballets, which resulted in the Convent on the Water “(Alfredo Casella, 21+26, Roma, Augustea, 1931, pp. 15-16).
“In January 1911, the painter Jacques Émile Blanche – one of my best friends – had the idea to make me write a ballet to be presented to Diaghilev. He entrusted Jean Louis Vaudoyer with writing the plot, and this is how Le couvent sur l’eau, or The Convent on the Water was born. I do not consider this work – except for the pieces included in the homonymous orchestral suite – as one of my most successful works. The music is full of uncertainty and French-Russian influences, reflecting a bashful mood, dominated by several characters, in particular Rimsky, Stravinsky, Dukas, and Ravel. For sure, if I had wanted to continue on that easy and risk-free path, I would have estblished for myself the art of ‘peaceful life’, and would have written some profitable symphonic poems with immediate success. Luckily, I understood at once how poor that work was, and started looking for alternative paths. After all, my suspicion was approved by the fact that Diaghilev, thanks to his great instinct, never cared about my work. Instead, the suite pieces were met everywhere with the great approval they probably deserved”(Alfredo Casella, I segreti della giara, Firenze, Sansoni, 1941, pp. 127-128). ..
Read full preface > HERE