A Winter’s Tale

Sounds Of Our Time
Dec 10-11 2022

A Winter’s Tale
(Suite for Orchestra)
Pauline Frechette

orchestrated by David Campbell

Winter Wonderful – As a composer, I wanted to share with my audience what I consider to be the highlights of winter. That was my inspiration for creating “Winter Wonderful.”  I included in my composition a few bars of “Jingle Bells” and “Deck the Halls” because those two melodies remind me of caroling with friends and reflect the true holiday spirit. My other melodies were inspired by the warmth of our home life with my French Canadian parents and ten brothers and sisters in freezing Hammond, Indiana. Winter meant ice-skating and sledding in the park, then sipping hot-chocolate while dreaming of a ride in a horse-drawn sled. For that effect sleigh bells were added to the overall arrangement to give the true feeling of a sleigh ride. 

Ice Storm – An ice storm begins with a slow steady pelt of particles on windows and surfaces. As it grows in speed and force it becomes a menacing yet bewitching spectacle of turbulent snow and ice. I have always loved watching these storms with their wild beauty. I initially composed this piece for piano and although it still holds as a solo piece, I wanted to explore the textures and grandness that an orchestra would bring to it. As the storm grows the strings, horns and brass put forth the electrifying power of nature. And as the storm subsides, the music portrays the last pelts of ice, bits of snow and perhaps an icicle or two that hint of melting. Calm is restored.

A Quiet Walk in the Snow – Growing up near the oil refineries of Hammond Indiana, the town mostly looked ugly with dirt and grime everywhere. But overnight that would change with the first snow of winter.  Like magic our town became a wonderland of beauty all blanketed in sparkling white. I would get up at dawn with my brother just to walk quietly in the snow before anyone else. It was so breathtakingly beautiful, we didn’t care that we were freezing cold. Hearing the crunch of fresh snow under our boots, tasting the snowflakes on our tongues and seeing snowflakes dance in the street lights warmed our hearts and made us glad to be alive.

As a composer I wanted to capture that magic in music and share with my listeners the beauty of walking in untouched snow.

The MIschievous Fairie – As a child I believed in fairies. In my little golden book they spelled “fairy” – “fairie” – and explained that a “fairy” is a young, kind and pure spirit whereas a fairie is mischievous. Since I love being mischievous myself, I decided that I would bring a “Fairie” to life with music.  The composition came effortlessly to me as I went into the make-believe world of fairies. The first two sections set the fairie up, where she and her fairie friends might be hiding somewhere in the Christmas tree and then she naughtily steals a ribbon off a gift and prances about the room having a great time. I especially love the middle section where I imagined my fairie would fly around the house with the flowing melody – perhaps dreaming of marrying the Nutcracker!  The last section finds her dancing about with her fairie friends and then flying out the window with the lovely ribbon and maybe a chocolate or two that she so mischievously stole!

La Valse Féte – I love dancing and have always imagined going to a real Ball where ladies wear ball gowns and waltz with their partners into the night.  The main theme of my composition starts out a bit timidly. I used chromatic tones to make it feel a bit like one is a little off kilter, perhaps in a dream. In fact, I originally titled this piece, The Glass Waltz, likening it to sliding around on glass. But I expanded the piece to include the second section, which changes keys and introduces a variation implying perhaps a new suitor has arrived and caught the dancer’s eye. Then the main theme returns, only expanded with a counter melody implying the dancers are twirling about. The second variation is quiet and I imagined perhaps a young girl has been watching the ball from her place along the wall, hoping to be asked to dance. Then it crescendos as a suitor takes her hand and they join the others, waltzing with great delight. In this last section I have all the themes interwoven and building with exhilaration to a point where two chromatic scales move in opposite directions bringing the ball to a festive end.   

Pauline Frechette

Pauline Frechette comes from a family of composers/musicians. Her great-grandfather, Josef Vezina founded the Quebec Symphony and her father was a concert organist. From a very young age, Pauline was playing violin in youth orchestras and winning piano competitions. As a composer, her musicals have been produced in NYC and L.A.  Her compositions have been performed by the Baltimore Symphony, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, New West Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, National Symphony at the Kennedy Center and at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Pauline has sung on film scores, including “Rent” and “Aladdin” and performed with many legendary artists including Paul McCartney, Cher, Willie Nelson, Muse (for the 2012 Olympics), Leonard Cohen and duets with Neil Diamond.

 Her last three albums debuted in the Top Ten on Billboard’s Classical and Classical Cross-over charts.  Her music is currently played in over 100 countries and has over 20 million hits collectively on Spotify, Soundcloud, Reverbnation, iTunes and Amazon.  Pauline won the Gold Award for “Best Instrumental” and “Best Adult Contemporary Song” in the 2022 W.A.M. International Music Competition. Her Suite for Orchestra and Ballet had its world premier in 2021 with the New West Symphony and California Dance Company. 

Through the positive effects of her music in Africa, Pauline was awarded the title “Change Ambassador for Peace and Humanity” by the YELI foundation in Nigeria.