By the time of the composition of these Songs of twilight
, circa 1910, Catoire was entirely his own master. The first, curiously without a tempo indication but marked impressionistically ‘sempre rubato’, maintains both the familiar tripartite structure and upward modulation of Catoire’s shorter piano pieces. It is distinguished by the fluent juxtaposition of three-against-two quavers. The second, Capricciosamente
, is quite chromatic and builds to a remarkable central climax before a long coda eventually winds the piece to a tranquil major ending. Tranquillity describes the nature of the third piece, based upon another rather Chopinesque falling theme, which, in the central section, is inverted before the recapitulation, which further develops the initial idea. The concluding song, although marked ‘Poco agitato’, is a summation of aspects of the preceding three, but its central section is more dramatic and elemental. The ending, with an idea quietly repeated in the bass, is both simple and magical.
from notes by Robert Matthew-Walker © 1999