Listeners around the world are familiar with Dukas’ lively and entertaining tone poem, "The Sorcerer’s Apprentice," immortalized by Walt Disney in his well-loved film, “Fantasia.” Based on a story by Goethe, of an inept magician’s apprentice whose unfortunate commands to a broomstick result in flooding the master’s dwelling, it and the three-movement Symphony in C are two of Dukas’ earliest works. The Symphony was well received at its premiere in Paris in 1897, but it has since been completely overshadowed by the tone poem, conceived by its composer as a joke.
The third work on this recording, La Péri (The Fairy), with its attendant Fanfare, was the last work by Dukas to be published. A single-movement “poeme dansé,” was commissioned by Natalia Trouhanova, a Russian ballerina, who gave the premiere performance in Paris in 1912. Its underlying story is taken from Persian mythology, and concerns a youth, Iskender, who is searching for the lotus, the flower of immortality. In his searching, he finds a sleeping péri in a bower, who possesses a lotus. Iskender steals the lotus but, having fallen in love with the beautiful péri, cannot flee. She awakens and dances, inflaming the youth’s desire, and he returns the flower only to lose both the lovely girl and the lotus, as the péri fades away into the sunset.
Beginning in 1987 with a disc of the music of Falla that was named “Record of the Year” by Stereo Review, Jesús López-Cobos and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra have made twenty highly acclaimed recordings on the Telarc label, most recently of the Mahler 3rd Symphony. Upcoming projects include a recording of the music of Respighi, including Pines of Rome, Fountains of Rome, and Metamorphosen Modi XII