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Music with Ease > Classical Music > Concert Guide: Romantic Era > Scherzo, "L'Apprenti sorcier" (The Sorcerer's Apprentice) - Dukas


Scherzo, "L'Apprenti sorcier"
(The Sorcerer's Apprentice)

Paul Dukas
(1865-1935)



The Scherzo, "L’Apprenti Sorcier," is a fanciful composition based upon Goethe’s ballad "Der Zauberlehrling" ("The Magician’s Apprentice" or "The Sorcerer's Apprentice") and was first performed in Paris in 1897. The work is free in form, and simply describes in a picturesque way the strange antics as recorded in the poem performed by the apprentice after he escaped from his master’s service. An analysis of the music is hardly necessary, so clearly is the story told. In various fantastic ways the composer describes the river which supplies water for the bath, and particularly the apprentice’s misadventure with the broom, which he bids stand upon two legs and bring the water is a pail. In an unfortunate moment he forget the magic word, and the broom continues bringing pails of water until the house is flooded. Thereupon he seizes an axe and splits the broom in twain, which only increases his troubles, for both parts hurry off for water and empty it into the house in such quantities that the frightened amateur implores his master to return, and help him out of his plight. The composer has told the quaint story in tones, with great dexterity and strong effect.





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