The French composer Jacques Ibert studied under Paul Vidal at the Paris Conservatoire and won the Prix de Rome in 1919 for his cantata Le poète et la fée. From 1937 he was director of the French Academy in Rome, and from 1955 to 1957 directed Paris' Opéra-Comique. He died in Paris.
This brief but brilliant Entr'acte is one of his most well-recognized works and a direct product of his love for Spanish literature and music. In 1935 Ibert wrote incidental music for a French production of Pedro Calderón's El médico de su honra. The entr'acte of that music was published that same year for flute or violin and guitar or harp. It has been transcribed for and recorded with many other instruments since its original publication. It opens with a breathless, whirling dance with propulsive accompaniment, inspired by flamenco guitar music. The opening is then repeated after the briefest of pauses, the music vividly calling to mind a dancer as he or she improvises a variation on the theme. That image of an animated dancer, showing off his or her footwork, continues in the following serenade-like solo for the guitar. That, in turn, leads into a cadenza for both instruments and a final, brief statement of the theme, ending, so obviously, with the dancer's arms in the air and a final stamp of the feet.