Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Classic 100 Music of France - Day 4

Second day in a row the countdown has opened with a choral work of Hector Berlioz I hadn’t heard before. The Requiem is huge and glorious in parts, although it lacks much of the emotional landscape of Durufle’s; maybe not the Gloria or the angelic reflections of the conclusion. In all I probably prefer the Te Deum from yesterday but hey. It was followed by a bit of his oratorio about the Childhood of Christ which was quite serene in general.

I hadn’t, and still haven’t apparently, heard the entire Turangalila symphony of Messian. It’s a strange work to be honest and I’m afraid I have to admit it really does sound like a ’50s B-grade SF/horror soundtrack. The alien monster, attacked by the marines but falls in love with the hero’s fiancée whose father is the scientist who first noticed the strange spacecraft …

I may have heard Marais’ The Bells of St Genevieve before but this was my first time really listening to it. The sense of rhythm and the rocking of the bells back and forth is very strong and quite enthralling in its way.

First time hearing Harolde in Italy all the way through too, that's a fun piece sort of a concerto with a plot. Only the second time I'd heard Saint-Saens' fifth piano concerto but it was on my favourite list from the first time. What a magical piece! It's not like any other concerto I can think of, evocative and mysterious.

Interestingly no operas today, although a few choral works and songs. No ballets in the countdown yet, so hope Adam's Giselle gets in and Delibes' Coppellia - I want to hear them in full. One of the expert guests today suggested Faure's Requiem and Pavane would both probably miss out ... I think he might be wrong about that somehow but we'll see.

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