"In my musical interpretations of A House of Pomegranates, I have endeavored to reveal something of Wilde's multifaceted literary personality, which was alternately romantic and modern, sublime and earthy, brilliantly idealistic and grimly realistic. It is worth noting that in 1891, when Wilde published this collection, the world of keyboard music itself was no less diverse, for Albéniz, Brahms, Debussy, Grieg, and Scriabin were all actively engaged in composition. Rather than focussing on any particular "period style," I decided to allow each of the four pieces to take its own course, with the result that two--"The Young King" and "The Fisherman and His Soul"--are firmly rooted in the romantic tradition, while the remaining two--"The Birthday of the Infanta" and "The Star-Child"--anticipate (or recall) twentieth-century idioms, particularly 'impressionism'."

"The Fisherman and His Soul" is a through-composed song-without-words in f-sharp minor marked "Allegro tranquillo." Its seaside setting is evoked by gently shimmering figuration and flowing arpeggios in twelve-eight time, which lend textural unity to the piece and gently support the principal melodies. In the first phrase, the fisherman summons the mermaid in his basso voice, to which she responds in the treble with a similarly falling line. They dialog briefly before she slips again into the sea and the fisherman reluctantly bids her farewell.

Click here to download mp3 of the same movement (1.9 megabytes).


Last updated June 17, 2003
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© Copyright 2001 by Joseph Dillon Ford