《Meditation de “Thaïs”》

Jules Massenet (1842-1912)

Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù "Ole Bull", Vi (1744)
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The French composer Massenet was a naturally gifted musician who began his studies at the Paris Conservatory at the age of nine. In 1859, he won first prize in the Conservatory’s piano competition. Four years later, in 1863, he was awarded the Grand Prix de Rome, the highest honor for a French musician. Massenet went on to teach composition at the Conservatory; many of his students subsequently achieved great renown. He was also one of the best-known French opera composers of his era. This piece, taken from the second scene of the opera Thaïs, features a particularly beautiful melody; with this being Massenet’s best-known work, it is also widely regarded as one of the finest pieces ever written for the violin. The opera Thaïs was first performed in Paris in 1894; set in Egypt in the fourth century A.D.,it describes how a courtesan named Thaïs living in the Port of Alexandra is convinced by a monk to abandon her worldly existence and dedicate herself to religion. In the final scene, she is shown dying peacefully in the convent. The scene is shown from the second act, an intermezzo is played to tell Thaïs’ tiredness of her current existence and starting to search for spiritual growth through religion.