Marche Guerrière, pour le Piano

Charles Edward Stephens
1872 The Musical Times and Singing Class Circular  
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more » ... 9 539 SCHOTT AND CO. lktt;rche GuerriEre, pour le Piano Reverze, pour le Piano. Par Charles :Edward Stephens. THESE two pieces, evidently the work of a sound and thoughtfut musician, deserve to take high rank amongst the compositions specially designed for those pianists who desire to exercise their minds as well as their fingers. The March, based upon a well marked and attractive subject in D minor, is no fragmentary piece of common-place, such as we so frequently meet vrith composed " in honour" of somebodyy but a well digested piece of music, the very faults of which arise from the display of too much scholarship. We like the theme with which it opens excessively, and also the second subject, in B flat major (its repetition in the tonic maior of the piece being highly effective), and there are some excellent points in the coda, the conclusion, where the subiect is accompanied by a continually ascending octave passage, being especially worthy of comanendation-but throughout the piece there is a superabundance of modulation, which, carefully as it is written, distresses the ear and detracts from the effect of what would otherwise be a fauitless work. For the "Reverie" we have nothing but praise. Amongst modern pieces of this class we could scarcely point to one which has so thoroughly pleased us. It commences vwith a healthy and melodious theme, quietly and appropriately accompanied, the chromatic passages for the left h&nd in the second part being excellently contrasted with the placid opening. The second subject is perfectly charming, and is treated with the tenderness it deserves, the modulations aiding the intensity of its exDression by fowing na;turally through a sequence of keys until, by a skilful enharmomc change, the original re-appears, the figure in the accompaniment being ef3 ectively preserved throughout. The return to the principal theme, with an altered bass brmgs the piece to a conclusion, leaving on the ear that satisfactory impression of completeness which is rare enough to Justify us in pronouncing a more favourable verdict upon Mr. Stephens's compositions than we have been able for some time conscientiously to do, even when pieces by more " popular " writers have been under review. J. MCDOWELL AND CO. Stz ptEces pour Ptano:-1. E3iimple Phrasq. 4. Perbsee Rt6sse. 9. Melodie. 5. Marzne. 3. Berceqbse. 6. Lamento. Composees par F. Peru TSE name of this composer is new to usl, but the six pieces before us prove that he desires not to write in the beaten track and if his music does not betray signs of :much originality; it is certainly not for want of striving after it. Everyphrase however bears unmistakable evidence of its author being an accomplished musician * and we cannot but think that if he were to write more simply he would write better. No. 1 would be additionally attractive if the whole of the somewhat ugly ornamental passages were cut out The melody is pleasing; and, well played, with the excisions we harre mentioned, would no doubt be highly effective. No. 2 is a " Songwithout words," in A minor, clearly written carefully harmonized, and unexceptionable in its treatment throughout, but so thoroughly conventional in character as to call for no particular remark. No. 3 is in our opinion the best. It is difficult to be original in a " Berceuse," but the figure in the left hand part,which is maintained throughout gives so much point to the composition-the holding notes of the theme being in such excellent contrast with the accompaniment-that we cannot but imagine that this piece might become popular, were it separated from its companions. The melody is extremely beautiful, and the harmonies mest appropriate, an enharmonic change (E flat, D sharp) being a point well worthy of attention. The Russian piece (No. 4) of course in a minor key, has but little interest * but No. 5 again shows the composer at his best. It is in 13arcarolle time; and the device adopted in the b-ass of following the doubly dotted crotchet by a semiquaver, and writing 3 over them, makes this important left-hand part universally intelligible. This characteristic accompaniment against the legato snelody is highly effective. No. 6, in a minor, has
doi:10.2307/3354095 fatcat:4jd3dq2dgzbvrjxsbum3ja72nm