Mêlée Fantasque was my first full orchestral work to have a public concert. This took place at a Queen’s Hall Promenade Concert in October 1921, and I conducted the work myself. Further performances took place in the following year in Prague and Vienna, conducted by Sir Adrian Boult.
This twelve minute work is ‘dedicated to the memory of Claude Lovat Fraser, a great and lovable artist’. During his short life he had designed many beautiful scenes and costumes for the theatre, and immediately after World War I, I had myself collaborated with him in Nigel Playfair’s production of As You Like It. He had also designed the cover for my early work ‘Rout’, which I had dedicated to his wife Grace, who sang in so many of its performances.
In the music of Mêlée Fantasque I have tried to convey the rhythmic verve and Bakst-like colour of many of Lovat Fraser’s paintings, in what is virtually my first ballet score. Interspersed between colourful episodes are elegiac passages which hint at the loss of this gifted friend.
© Arthur Bliss