Saturday, 1 September 2012

More Classic 100 Music of France Musings

So it’s getting to crunch time and I’m going to have to make some decisions. As I said in my first post I already know I’m voting for Faure’s Pavane; that was decided as soon as I knew the theme for the countdown. It’s such a beautiful piece and I’ve loved it for years, I even used it in the soundtrack to a short film I made in uni. So I not only love it, it has some personal attachment.

If I use the idea of significance I can probably also lock in Bizet’s L’Arlesienne. When I was in my late teens I bought a cheap CD with that and Carmen, because I knew of Carmen and thought it’d be good to have in a collection. But it was the Farandole from The Girl from Arles that really captured my attention and imagination. I used to play it a lot while writing my play for HSC Drama, a melodrama about a knight and an evil king. And it is great music.

Saint-Saens raises problems with this approach though. The Danse Macabre and Carnival of the Animals are both some of the earliest classical music I knew and loved, and the Organ Symphony is one of the first symphonies outside Mozart and Beethoven that I knew. I could vote for all three and be done with it, but that leaves so many others and I have this thing about spreading the love and not wanting to give one composer more than others – irrational it may be but I never claimed to be a slave to logic or reason.

Leaving those three to battle out my third pick, I have two picks left. As I said, I feel Debussy’s Afternoon of the Faun is safe to do very well without me, but there is his Reverie and Nocturnes – and I’ve just discovered his first piano trio ... I’ve got to put a Berlioz in there too of course, his flair for the dramatic really captures my fancy. I’ve got that down to two, King Lear and The Roman Carnival Overture, the latter because I’ve loved it for a long time and the latter because as well as being good in itself, it’s King Lear, a play I have a near fetish about.

Which leaves Ravel’s string quartet and tzigane, Satie’s Gnossiennes, and of course Dukas’ Sorcerer’s Apprentice – another early love – to battle it out for the last pick. And even then there’s a mass of pieces I’m rooting for from the sidelines. And new discoveries waiting for me to indulge in which possibly deserve more attention.

I may have to take Classic FM’s tweeted challenge up and see if I can convince some other people to vote too, after all it’s more fun if you vote for something. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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