Sunday, January 15, 2012

Paul Dukas - The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Go on your way,
do not tarry,
water carry,
let it flow abundantly,
and prepare a bath for me!
- Goethe, The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Fame can be annoying.  Paul Dukas was a late 19th/early 20th Century French composer, life long friend with Claude Debussy, and a complete perfectionist.  Rarely satisfied with his compositions, he destroyed many - perhaps the majority - and hid others.  One of his compositions was only found in recent years; its first performance was in 1995.

And so imagine the horror he felt at the fame that this piece rapidly achieved.  Inspired by Goethe's 1797 poem, it became a Parisian favorite.  And this was years before Disney's Fantasia made it even more popular.  It made Dukas somewhat cross, actually.

He was really no more than a journeyman composer and teacher, famous enough that he was buried in Paris' Père Lachaise cemetery with all the other artistic movers and shakers.  But not more famous than that.  Today, he's all but forgotten except for this song.

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