Whimsical French Suite

Historically a suite was a set of fast and slow popular dances which were gradually replaced by erudite music under the name of the former dances.The most famous example is the Bach’s chaconne

La suite francaise fantasque (Whimsical French suite) is not by all means a real suite.It is basically a Duet for Violin and Viola with a pedagogical aim.
The four dances,which are foreign to French, have a different tonality (Dm Gm CM F) forming a kind of large cadence in F maj that gives the whole piece its tonal unity.
The formal organization is based on a fixed number of bars:25.

  • The Allemande, is regarded as the prime popular dance meaning where couples travel back and forth the room.The Allemande theme give the spinning character while the bass give a steady pace
  • The sicilienne,based on the classical rhythm ,explores varied articulations rejoining so to speak the erudite music trend.
  • The scottish is really out of the period and style of the classical suite . It could have be named polka due to its bouncing character
  • The polonaise adds a virtuoso and spanish  touch despite the viola’s polonaise rhythm . It is an exception to the 25 bars formal organisation by addition of a Da capo to confirm the the weak established tonality in F maj

One should notice that the two first pieces, that belong to classical suite, are in a well established minor tonality whilst the two last historically foreign to suite pieces are in the major mode with a vague tonality that reminds the Renaissance music ,although not adhering to its logic, so that to increase the discrepancy.