PIERRE MULLER (1851 - 1901)
The waltz Nuit étoilée (Starry Night, 1886) was the most successful composition of Pierre Muller (1851-1901). The work was dedicated to Mademoiselle Virginie Haussmann, who may have been related to the Baron Haussmann who changed the face of Paris with the construction of broad boulevards in the 1860s. No less striking is Muller's polka militaire L' Infanterie française (French Infantry), a remarkable evocation of an infantry band in polka tempo. More familiar to us today, though, will be the themes of the waltz Muller based on Emmanuel Chabrier's sparkling 1887 opéra comique Le Roi malgré lui (King Despite Himself). Besides the famous Fête Polonaise or Polish party music that opens the opera's second act, Muller makes particularly effective use of the exquisite Act 1 duet between the King and the young slave-girl Minka and the Act 2 'barcarolle-duet'. One way and another, Muller's three pieces typify the attractions of nineteenth-century French dance music that are so rewardingly uncovered in the innovative collection now available on Marco Polo [8.223801].