Work: Escales - Ports of Call
About This Work
Jacques Ibert enjoyed a major sensation when his Escales was premiered in 1924. As a sumptuous, brilliantly orchestrated work depicting sunny climes in perfect postcard music, Ibert's suite follows in the steps of such predecessors as
Saint-Saëns' Suite algérienne (1880), Chabrier's España (1883), Debussy's Ibéria (1905-1908), and Ravel's Rapsodie espagnole (1907).
In the span of about 15 minutes, Escales retraces a voyage Ibert himself might have made while he was in the Navy during World War I, cruising the Mediterranean. The first movement, "Rome-Palermo," evokes the sights and sounds of these major Italian centers with a melody of appropriate regional flavor. "Tunis-Nefta" brings the sailors ashore in Northern Africa; timpani and pulsing strings provide a hypnotic beat while an oboe imitates the chromatic improvisations of local reed instruments. "Valencia," a whirling dance scene, brings the suite to a close with a portrayal of Spanish culture at its liveliest.
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