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Bacchanale

From Wind Repertory Project
Camille Saint-Saëns

Camille Saint-Saëns (arr. Egner)


Subtitle: From Samson & Delila


General Info

Year: 1877 / 1926
Duration: c. 6:00
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Carl Fischer
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - Unknown


Instrumentation

Full Score
C Piccolo
D-flat Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III-IV
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
Cornets I-II-III-IV
E-flat Horn or Alto I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Euphonium
Tuba
String Bass
Timpani
Percussion, including:

  • Castanets
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Slapstick
  • Tambourine
  • Triangle


Errata

None discovered thus far.


Program Notes

Bacchanale comes from Saint-Saens's 1877 opera Samson et Delila, which is based on the Biblical story of those two characters. In both the opera and the Bible, Samson is a leader of the Israelites, who are in the midst of a revolt against their malevolent rulers, the Philistines. The Philistines want to bring him down, so they send one of their own, a woman named Delila, to seduce him and discover the source of his extreme physical strength. It turns out that secret is his long hair, which binds him in a vow to God. But Samson does not let that secret slip easily: he misleads Delila several times before finally revealing the true secret. Yet when that is done, Delila shaves his hair while he sleeps, allowing the Philistines to capture and blind him. After years of forced labor at their hands, Samson winds up in the temple of Dagon, one of the Philistine deities, in Gaza. There, he prays to God to restore his strength, and he pulls down the central columns of the temple, killing himself and all of the Philistines inside. Each version of the story has its nuances (e.g., the Bible says Samson killed 1000 Philistines with the jawbone of an ass!) so it’s worth your time to investigate both.

The Bacchanale occurs in Act III of the opera, just before Samson is led into the temple of Dagon. It is a depraved dance performed by the priests of Dagon. Saint-Saens loved “exotic” sounds, so he used an exceptionally exotic sounding scale for a good chunk of the piece: it contains two one-and-a-half step gaps (from the 2nd to 3rd steps and the 6th to 7th steps). While that does heighten the exoticness of the piece, it is not authentic to any world musical tradition.

- Program note by Andy Pease


Commercial Discography


Audio Links

None discovered thus far.


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


Performances

To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Kansas Wind Ensemble (Paul W. Popiel, conductor) – 12 November 2015
  • West County Winds (San Pablo, Calif.) (Jessica Bejarano, conductor) - 8 June 2013
  • United States Navy Band (Brian O. Walden, conductor) - February 2013 West Coast Tour
  • Matthews Concert Band (William Penfield, conductor) - 1 November 2012


Additional Works for Winds by this Composer


References