Key colour was obviously of importance to Chaminade. Is it significant that Tristesse
is in C sharp minor, given that the plangent and sonorous slow music with which it begins suggests she may have been listening hard to some Russian composers – perhaps especially Rachmaninov? If she was thinking of his famous Prelude in the same key, she certainly avoids direct comparisons by constructing her piece as an alternation of slow and fast music, the latter element a precise, toccata-like idea which soon gets caught up in the prevailing gusts of emotion.
from notes by Calum MacDonald © 1994