Everyone loves a glass of wine (or two) wherever it is drunk. However there are certain romantic locations which add to the drinking experience. For example drinking Lacryma Christi in Shepherds’ Bush is good: in a little bar in Sorrento overlooking the Bay of Naples is much better! I love the South of France – especially Cannes and Monte Carlo. There is nothing nicer than sipping a glass of the local vino whilst watching the world go by. And I guess that Trevor Duncan felt that way too about life. After his success with the idiomatic Girl from Corsica, his publishers persuaded him to write some more pieces with a Mediterranean flavour. As the sleeve notes for the Marco Polo recording of Duncan’s music points out ‘...in Wine Festival he imagines the sunny south of France where no-one really needs an excuse to celebrate the riches of the vines.’
The music opens with a sultry, moody tune that may suggest the weather but is more likely to be a lady! It is set in the minor key, but is warm and in no way sad. Soon a balalaika enters the fray, with a typically Mediterranean tune, which may be more suggestive of Greece than France. Suddenly snatches of a dance tune tries to assert themselves but are swept aside by Mademoiselle. However they are not kept out of the picture for long. Soon the fiesta begins with a sunny tune that surely depicts villager, vintners and the swirling of the wine. Good use is made by Duncan of the woodwind section of the orchestra. Once again the balalaika enters, suggesting evening, perhaps. The girl returns complete with lovely harp glissandi. Yet the piece is brought to a fine conclusion with a coda that echoes the dance.
Wine Festival can be heard on Marco Polo 8.223517