The Scherzo-Caprice Op 25, written in 1890, is another virtuosic tour-de-force, also dedicated to Caroline de Serres (née Montigny-Rémaury). Its form is an extended rondo with five episodes. The work opens with an introduction whose fanfare-like figure is later used to link various sections. Again, the structure is only very loosely based on classical models as the first episode only appears twice throughout the work. Pierné delights in using motifs from episodes as linking material as well as combining separate episodes together. Despite its very free form, this characteristic use of repeating motif and cyclical structure creates a strong, cohesive work. As we have seen, 1890 was the year that saw Pierné take over from Franck at Sainte Clotilde – this work would probably have been written during the composer’s annual vacation at Carantec (like d’Indy, Pierné composed mainly during his holiday break) and its infectious exuberance and energy surely reflects the optimistic mood prompted by his new post.
from notes by Stephen Coombs © 2003