The fantasy world of fairy tales has attracted the interest of more than one composer. Tchaikovsky was enthralled by The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake and The Nutcracker. Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid” became a focus of attention for the Austrian composer Zemlinsky, and Ravel composed a series of short pieces based on Tales of Mother Goose. For his part, Prokofiev wrote both the libretto and the music for the “symphonic fairy tale” Peter and the Wolf, intended to introduce children to the instruments of the orchestra. The musical adaptation of Simon Boulerice’s tale Le Pelleteur de nuages (The Cloud Shoveller) combines the talent of three contemporary composers who convey their interpretation of the story through music.
A composer of choral and film music, Marie-Claire Saindon is deeply involved with program music, music that tells a story. In this first part, she paints a portrait of Elliot’s father, a dreamer, romantic and flower lover. To represent him, Saindon drew inspiration from composers she is fond of. From Tchaikovsky, she summoned the expressive melodies of the Serenade for Strings. The first section is tinted by Ravel’s orchestral colours while the cheerful style of Shostakovich’s Festive Overture is echoed in the fourth. The mechanical movement of the cloud factory is represented by the trombones, which re-create the sound of a snow blower, and the marimba, which provides impetus. Overall, the piece is similar to a Romantic mini symphony.
© 2022 Florence Leyssieux
Translation by Craig Schweickert