Impressionist genius

Ravel and Debussy

Early this morning, I heard a wonderful performance of the Daphnis and Chloe Suite number 2 by Maurice Ravel. What amazing music that is! There is no doubt that Ravel was a master in orchestration, as he showed us in his version of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.

In Daphnis, we get the terrific contrasts of sensuous wind solos, as well as the intertwining of harps and strings. This is great music to dream by, close your eyes, see your favorite sights of Nature, and revel in the miracles of sound

And the playing by the Berlin Philharmonic that I heard was just what was needed to assure a very satisfying performance.

Tracks on this recording are:

  • La Mer – 1. From Dawn till Noon on the Sea (De l’aube à midi sur la mer)
  • La Mer – 2. Play of the Waves (Jeux de vagues)
  • La Mer – 3. Dialogue of the Wind and the Sea (Dialogue du vent et de la mer)
  • Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune
  • Daphnis & Chloë – Suite No.2
  • Boléro

Yes… Bolero has been performed so often that it seems superfluous here; but you may still discover some colors and inner voices that you never knew were there.

Karajan leads this music in long sweeps of expression, and each bar is full of color and detail. As familiar as La Mer is, to go beyond mere scene-painting (wind, waves, foam, etc.) is difficult. To my ears, Karajan’s interpretation rises to the very top.

The performance of the Daphnis et Chloe suite No. 2 is just wonderful and expressive.

These are terrific compositions and a wonderful introduction to the genius of French impressionist sound.

Here is an excerpt of the Daphnis et Chloé: Suite No. 2, conducted by Herbert von Karajan:



And here is Emanuel Pahud, Flute, with the Berlin Philharmonic, performing Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé:



Tags: Maurice Ravel, Caluse Debussy, Daphnis et Chloé, La Mer

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