Symphonic scherzo L’apprenti sorcier (“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”)

The creative legacy of the French composer Paul Dukas is rather scarce. Having been a perfectionist, overly methodical and self-critical musician, Dukas destroyed many of his compositions before his death. Nevertheless, he managed to gain world fame thanks to the symphonic scherzo The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Written after Goethe’s ballad Der Zauberlehrling in 1897, Dukas’ opus tells the story of the old sorcerer’s apprentice who, left alone in the workshop, decides to bring a broom to life. The broom performs the apprentice’s chore – that of fetching water from the river. The fastidious worker-broom becomes unstoppable and soon water floods the floor. The distraught lad cannot find the “stopping” incantation. In desperation, he chops the broom in two, but now the work is done at twice the speed by the broom halves. But the sorcerer returns, speaks the magic words, stops the bedlam, the brooms are stilled, and calm, as at the beginning, is restored. The sorcerer reminds the young disciple that mystical forces are subordinate only to him. Dukas’ symphonic score illustratively depicts the spirit and energy of the plot. The magical atmosphere is created by the masterful use of possibilities of the instruments and accents of musical thought.

Dukas’ cheerful opus is performed by the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by maestro Modestas Barkauskas.

PUBLISHED: 2020-09-19