Music with Ease > Classical Music > Concert Guide: Romantic Era > Suite, "Sylvia" - Delibes
The delightful ballet of "Sylvia," or "The Nymphs of Diana," from which the composer compiled this suite, was first performed in Paris in 1876. As arranged for concert purposes it is in four movements: 1. Prelude and Les Chasseresses. 2. Intermezzo and Valse lento. 3. Pizzicati. 4. Cortège de Bachus. The first movement is devoted to the chase, which is in full action after a short prelude in the strings and dies away gradually in the distance. The second movement is a languishing waltz, succeeding a picturesque intermezzo. The third movement, pizzicato, is a dainty, piquant bit, the first violins giving out the theme accompanied by the other strings, pizzicato, and leading up to the closing movement, Bacchus' revel. It is a picture of a fantastic bacchanalian march movement in which, in the original ballet, satyrs appear, armed with javelins, whose approach is indicated by the trumpets. Maidens enter with flowers, followed by half-drunken fauns, bringing a goat for sacrifice. The revel begins in wild glee. The tempo quickens, the drums beginning and the basses and strings continuing the pranks of the mad company. The arrival of the wine-drinking god is suggested in an unexpected Largo, which as surprisingly develops into the wild delights of the revel.