Oscar Wilde

"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 Young King" is a "Presto" movement in the key of d minor, although its apotheosis-like conclusion leads to the parallel key of D major. The movement is in sonata-allegro form with an unusual development section that begins in the home key and proceeds as a fugal variant of the "royal" opening theme of the exposition. Remote modulations and pervasive horn fifths lend characteristic harmonic color to this fanciful tableau, which summons to mind both Wilde's poignant tale and the age of chivalry.


Last updated June 17, 2003
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