II. Soir d’Automne
Philippe Gaubert’s Trois Aquarelles imply that these three watercolors will be miniatures or character pieces, but really this is not the case. To the contrary, they are fully developed, substantial movements and he could and perhaps should have simply entitled the work Trio. Gaubert completed them in 1921 and intended them to be played by a standard piano trio, that is, a violin, cello and piano. As an afterthought, he decided that they might also sound well with flute, cello and piano. And surprisingly, it is in this combination that the work became known, although, it is equally effective in both versions. The first part, Par un clair matin (On a clear morning) is cheerful and energetic. The second movement, Soleil, d’automne (Autumn sun) is more subdued and gentle with a touch of melancholy, a kind of elegiac nostalgia for the summer which is gone. The third piece, Sérénade, has a Spanish flavor, or perhaps it is Basque, in the region where Gaubert had a summer home.
Philippe Gaubert (1879-1941) was born in the southern French town of Cahors. He studied flute with Paul Taffanel at the Paris Conservatory and became the leading flautist in France for several decades. He pursued a career as a performer, became conductor of the Paris Opera Orchestra and Professor of Flute at the Paris Conservatory. Not surprisingly, most of his compositions include the flute.