The Dolly Suite, Op. 56, is a collection of pieces for piano four-hands by Gabriel Fauré. It consists of short pieces written or revised between 1893 and 1896, to mark the birthdays and other events in the life of the daughter of the composer’s mistress.
An orchestral version of the suite was scored in 1906 by Henri Rabaud, and has, like the original piano duet version, received several recordings. The best-known section of the suite, the Berceuse, has been arranged for several combinations of instruments. In Britain it became famous as the play-out tune to Listen with Mother.
The suite, consisting of six short pieces, each with its own title: Berceuse, Mi-a-ou, Le jardin de Dolly, Kitty-valse, Tendresse and Le pas espagnol. The complete suite takes about fifteen minutes to perform.
This is my arrangement of movement.2 “Mi-a-ou”
It is arranged for double wind quintet and bass
Allegro vivo. “Mi-a-ou” was written for Dolly’s second birthday in June 1894. The title does not refer to a pet cat, as has often been supposed, but to Dolly’s attempts to pronounce the name of her elder brother Raoul, who later became one of Fauré’s favourite pupils.The young Dolly called her brother Messieu Aoul, which Fauré took as the original title for the piece. In his finished manuscript the title is shortened to “Miaou” (without hyphens).The Fauré scholar Robert Orledge writes that the title “Mi-a-ou”, like that of the “Kitty-valse” later in the suite, is the responsibility of Fauré’s publisher, Julien Hamelle.[