Bacchanale from “Samson and Delilah” by Camille Saint-Saens, arranged for Flute Orchestra by Shaul Ben-Meir
The Bacchanale is a festival in tribute to the god Bacchus, patron of all things sensual. Saint-Sains creates an exotic-sounding piece by employing an unusual scale based on the Arabic 'hijiz' mode, whose unique sound comes from the augmented interval between the second and third degrees of the scale.
It opens with an exotic solo, its middle-Eastern flavor evoking the lithe image of a dancer sinuously swirling behind veils to please the onlookers idly lounging on pillows. The party quickly grows in revelry, as the guests are drawn into a frenetic dance. After a brief contrasting interlude, the piece resumes its unrelenting rhythm, building tension to a tumultuous conclusion.
Scored for 6 C flutes (flute 2 doubles on piccolo), 2 alto flutes, 2 bass flutes, contrabass flute, (optional tympani)