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premiered at the
2009 Early Brass Festival
Amherst Early Music Festival

Sunday, 2:00 p.m.; July 19th, 2009
Evans Concert Hall, Cummings Arts Center
Connecticut College

De Bronze et de Lumière Thérèse Brenet
World premiere
Douglas Yeo, serpent; John Anthony; piano

De Bronze et de Lumière Thérèse Brenet

Comments from the composer: “Why this title? I was fascinated, when I met Michel Godard [renowned French serpentist who contacted Douglas Yeo and suggested that he premiere this work], by the different facets of the Serpent.

Why bronze? Because the light reflects on this noble alloy in which silver was mixed by some ancient artists. I was impressed by the dark and almost tragic color that the magnificent instrument is able to transpose, for example, in the trills, and this explains why the serpent plays a trill, on two occasions, in the full range of dynamics from ppp to fff. The piano punctuates briefly these two trills by an incisive intervention, hard-hitting: the light here represents lightning which precedes the rumbling of the storm. But in what follows, I wanted gentleness to be sung. The serpent can be very expressive.

At the end of the piece, one can find the bronze at the serpent and the light, having become very soft, at the piano. The serpent's part fades away, descending to the low register while the piano rises progressively and softly towards the light, reaching higher and higher registers. Therefore, I hope that I was able to bring out the many different facets of this instrument.”

(English translation by Alexandre Lecarme)

photo credit: Paul R. Johnson


Thérèse Brenet studied piano at the Conservatoire de Reims and the Paris Conservatory where her principal teachers were Jean Rivier, Darius Milhaud, Maurice Duruflé, Noël Gallon and Henri Dutilleux, and she obtained First Prizes in Harmony, Counterpoint, and Fugue. She finished her studies receiving recognition in Orchestration and the First Grand Prix de Rome in musical composition. She later received the Stéphane Chapelier-Clergue-Gabriel Marie Prize from the SACEM and the Silver Medal from the City of Paris. She has served as Faculty of the Paris Conservatory where she also was frequently part of the juries for music theory and composition, as well as electroacoustical music. Retiring in 2000, she has since devoted her time to musical composition, using both tonal and atonal musical language and strongly influenced by literature, painting, and the sciences. Her works have been performed throughout France as well as in Switzerland, England, Germany, Belgium, Ireland , the former Yugoslavia, Italy, Portugal, the Netherlands, Libya, Canada, Uruguay, Japan, and the United States.


exploring the role of early 19th century brass
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