Thursday, 11 October 2012

Classic 100 Music of France - Day 5

Two great symphonies in today's countdown. Franck's opened proceedings this morning and it was quite a journey I must say. From the brooding opening chords to the celebration of light at the conclusion. A real journey and good fun. And from that straight into Saint-Saens' second piano concerto which is simply brilliant in its shifts from light poetry to strong declamation then back to dancing instruments and all seamlessly. The second symphony was Bizet's which is a sheer joy to listen to.

Keeping with new pieces (for me), Chabrier's Espagna was a jolly jaunt with Spanish flair. Interesting just how many pieces were written by non-Spanish people inspired by the country. I love that Franck wrote his violin sonata as a wedding present for a violinist who managed to take the score and play it at the wedding. The slow movement seemed strangely sorrowful and I don't think the rest of the piece is entirely lovey-dovey but it's mostly celebratory, at least of violin playing. Overall I prefer the cello version but I prefer cello in general so that's to be expected.

Despite comments from the announcers about Faure being boring, I found his Cantique de Jean Racine to be one of those tranquil pieces you can really just stop the world and listen to.

And my wish from yesterday came true! Giselle came in, what a treat that was. Great story behind it, and the music really rocks along. Then a second ballet with Ravel's Daphnis and Chloe. I'd only heard the second suite before today which doesn't do the whole work justice. As a whole it weaves a spell that can't function as well when it's broken into pieces.

A few more operas made it in today. Interesting to note Offenbach used the can-can in his Orpheus in the Underworld as well as in Gaite Parisiene. Gounod's Faust was a bit different and quite nice. I love the Bacchanale from Samson et Delilah too, it's fantastic. But I'm still not an opera fan overall despite the beautiful music between the main singing. Sorry opera buffs.

From here it's tempting to start predicting the rest of the pieces to come in. So here it is - in no particular order - my predictions. Happy to be wrong.

1. Debussy – Suite de Bergamasque
2. Debussy – Pavane ... Faun
3. Debussy – Submerged Cathedral
4. Debussy – Girl with the Flaxen Hair
5. Debussy – La Mer
6. Ravel – Pavane for a Dead Princess
7. Ravel – Bolero
8. Ravel – String Quartet
9. Ravel – Piano Concerto
10. Faure – Pavane
11. Faure – Requiem
12. Delibes – Lakme
13. Delibes – Coppelia
14. Satie – Gymnopedies
15. Satie – Gnossiennes
16. Saint-Saens – Danse Macabre
17. Saint-Saens – Carnival of the Animals
18. Saint-Saens – Organ Concerto
19. Dukas – Sorcerer’s Apprentice
20. Bizet – Carmen
21. Bizet – Pearl Fishers
22. Bizet – L’Arlsienne
23. Berlioz – Symphonie Fantastique
24. Massenet – Thais
25. Poulenc – Sextet
26. Offenbach – Tales of Hoffmann
27. Faure – Bereceuse, Op 16
28. Ravel – Tzigane

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