Piccolo Mosaico is Giuseppe Cappelli’s fantasy on themes from Charles Gounod’s (1818- 1893) opera Faust. Faust was a five-act grand opera set to a French libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré, from Carré’s play Faust et Marguerite and Gérard Nerval’s translation of Part I of Goethe’s Faust. The opera debuted at the Théâtre Lyrique in Paris on March 19, 1859. The elderly philosopher Dr. Faust is frustrated with his life and considers suicide. After the devil (Méphistophélès) makes an image of Marguerite at her spinning wheel appear before him, Faust sells his soul in return for wealth and eternal youth. Now a handsome young man, Faust enters the town square where townsfolk are singing and dancing as soldiers prepare to go to war. Valentin, Marguerite’s brother, entrusts the care of his sister to his friendSiebél, who is secretly in love with her and leaves a bouquet of flowers at her door. Méphistophélès sees this and leaves a box of jewels for her (on behalf of Faust). Flattered by the attention, Marguerite succumbs to Faust. Marguerite gives birth to a child, but Faust abandons her and she is an outcast. When Valentin returns, Siebél begs him to forgive his sister, but he cannot. Faust and Méphistophélès appear and the devil sings a mocking song outside Marguerite’s window. Valentin goes out to fight the two men, but Faust kills him. As he lay dying, Valentin damns his sister to hell for eternity. Giuseppe Cappelli’s Piccolo Mosaico begins with Siebél’s aria, Faites-lui mes aveux, also known as The Flower Song, which occurs at the opening of Act III of Faust. A virtuoso passage in the E-flat clarinet brings thislilting section to a close at bar 49. After a pause, Cappelli shifts the mood to the beautiful duet between Faust and Marguerite, Il se fait tard!, from the end of Act III. Cappelli’s transcription of the orchestral tutti leads directly into Marguerite’s beautiful statement of the aria. The section closes with orchestral music from the final scene of Act III, Tenez! Elle ouvre sa fenêre, ietro. Cappelli’s treatment of Gounod’s famous waltz at the end of Act II, Ainsi que la brise légère, is an uplifting conclusion to the work.
Score and Parts Included: Eb Clarinet