The Wall of Love
(O Muro do Derrete) (1940)
The literal translation of the title being “The wall of melting” ( = desire, love), the Ballet features a scene next to the wall surrounding a churchyard where marriageable girls meet annually—during the fair of Merces (a village near Sintra, in the vicinity of Lisbon)—in an unusual yet picturesque amorous competition. Leaning over the wall, the girls wait for the boys to pass and to invite a girl for a chat. In the Ballet, one of the girls is left alone, until a timid boy approaches her and she befriends him.
The score of this work is very varied and divided into more than 20 different sections, many of them containing just a few bars. As with his other Ballets, the composer eliminated some of the sections for concert performances. As recorded here, we can clearly note the following sections: (1) Flute solo introducing an Allegro in 3/8 featuring woodwinds alternating with a trombone; (2) A vigorous Allegro in 2/4 with a recurrent motif first presented by a solo trumpet; (3) An Allegro in 5/4 metre featuring a motif starting in the high strings and taken over by a variety of instruments; (4) A slower section featuring a trumpet solo echoed by the flute; (5) A series of variations for different instruments (Allegretto, 3/8) leading to a tutti section (Molto allegro); (6) A Tempo di valse cut short by five strokes leading into (7) the only slow section in the work, introduced by a clarinet and a horn solo, and featuring muted strings surrounded by delicate arabesques on the flute. The closing section (8) is brilliant and exuberant.
The instrumentation of the work equals that of the preceding one, with an extra cor anglais but without a contra-bassoon.