Monsieur de la Pejaudie by Albert Roussel
Ms. de la Pejaudie is the last of the four pieces and is dedicated to Gaubert. The first three are themed on mythology like the God Pan.
Ms. de la Pejaudie is the hero of Henri de Regniers 1920 novel ” La Pecheresse” (the sinner woman). Roussel had used de Regnier material in three earlier compositions, the Four Poems and La Menace for voice and orchestra.
The most important point to note about this piece is the genius of the compositional style. The two parts – flute and piano – are wonderful compositions and separate. The piece demonstrates his mastery of counterpoint the way they fit together and have a conversation with each other.
I see the piano part as Ms de la Pejaudie’s character in the novel. The description of him is:
” a little brown man who, though born in Burgundy resembled someone from Provence. He had a lively face, lighted by black penetrating eyes and a mouth well designed for playing the flute. His body was solid. His chest large, his limbs proportionate, good legs. He stood very straight and lost not an inch from his height. Always properly attired”.
If you listen carefully to the piano part, you can hear this character being portrayed. I think my pianist Alex captured him beautifully. It is a very rhythmic and has a feeling of being very proper and exact.
The flute part, I feel reflects the flirtatious side of Ms de la Pejaudie. In the novel the character is a notorious womaniser and gets into all sorts of trouble with his advances and liaisons. The opening is very warm and romantic followed by a busy section which I think reflects the trouble he got into in the novel. The musical line is rather flamboyant, very beautiful and expressive, love it.
It is only a short little piece but genius and wonderful to play. It is very helpful with interpretation to know the background to this little piece and also to whom it was dedicated to , one of the greatest players and musicians to have ever lived, in my opinion, Gaubert.