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Claude Debussy

Saturday, April 29, 2017


My Classical Notes

April 24

Christiane Karg’s New Album: Perfum

My Classical NotesI am a long-term fan of soprano Christine Karg, and I want to tell you about her new album. It is called “Perfum”. It contains selections by the following composers: Britten: Quatre Chansons Françaises Debussy: Le Balcon Harmonie du soir Le Jet d’eau (from Cinq poèmes de Baudelaire) Recueillement Duparc: L’Invitation au voyage La Vie antérieure Phidylé Koechlin: Épiphanie, Op. 17 No. 3 Ravel: Shéhérazade All performed by Christiane Karg (soprano), with the Bamberger Symphoniker, David Afkham conducting. Christiane Karg is one of the most-sought-after lyric sopranos of the present day, acclaimed for her embodiment of operatic roles and as a lieder, concert and oratorio singer. She can be seen and heard all around the world: at lieder recitals in New York’s Carnegie Hall and in the Vienna Konzerthaus, at La Scala in Milan with her 2016 debut in “Der Rosenkavalier”, and at regular guest appearances at the Munich State Opera and the Chicago Lyric Opera House, at the Salzburg Festival and at the Royal Opera House London. At the end of 2017 she will give her debut performance at the MET Opera in New York (The Marriage of Figaro) and at the Vienna State Opera. David Afkham is Principal Conductor of the Spanish National Orchestra and Chorus. He is in high demand as a guest conductor with some of the world’s finest orchestras and opera houses The Bamberg Symphony – Bavarian State Philharmonic has always enjoyed a special status in the music world. Here is the trailer from this recording. Enjoy it!

Norman Lebrecht - Slipped disc

April 24

75 today, Barbra Streisand sings Debussy

Barbra Streisand was born in Williamsburg, New York City, on April 24, 1942. Here is one of her lesser-known hits, sung in a little-known language. Full marks for trying. Try another language? Recorded 1973, released in 2013.




Classical iconoclast

April 24

Bruckner dances ! Bartók, Debussy - Roth, LSO Barbican

François-Xavier Roth conducted the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican in:Debussy, Bartók, and Bruckner. Roth has a flair for designing thought-provoking programmes that stimulate the mind as well as the spirit.  He's also a good communicator whose enthusiasm inspires listeners as well as musicians - no surprise he's now the LSO's Chief Guest Conductor. All music is "new" in that good music is original. Hence the value of making connections that enhance the unique qualities of each work.  Debussy Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune was a breakthrough. Though we hear it so often, it's bracing to remember that it was written 123 years ago. It defies categories. Its exoticism stretches tonality, its chromatics at once rich, yet clean and modern. Think of fin de siècle art with its curving forms, against chaste backdrops.  The Prélude lends itself to dance because it is sensuous, yet also lucidly disciplined.  You don't mess with dance or it falls apart. No chance of that with the LSO and Roth. From the familiar to the much less familiar: Bartók Viola Concerto sz 120 with soloist Antoine Tamestit.  A bit of an orphan work,  revised and completed, perhaps to fit conventional taste. But the point is not whether one likes or dislikes a piece so much as figuring out how it works.  Oddly enough, I kept thinking of Gérard Grisey Les espaces acoustiques. Though the pieces are completely different, they both explore the character of the viola.  Hence the combinations: viola, then flutes and oboes, the viola suddenly strident, communing with trumpets, then horns.  There are elements of dance, Gypsy czardas, Scottish reels and even, possibly jazz.  Perhaps I thought of Grisey because Roth and the LSO prefaced Bartók with Debussy, priming me to think in terms of microtonal colour. "spectralism" to use the buzz word.  By this stage in his life, Bartók wasn't in a position to innovate, but we can get a glimpse of what might have been. And so to Bruckner Symphony no 4. As so often the title "Romantic" is misleading.  It's not romantic in the sense of Hollywood and not even in the sense of Wagner.  Note the instrumentation, which is relatively limited.  Consider the use of horns and rustic imagery.  Aha! Bruckner's doing Weber Der Freischütz, or even Beethoven's Pastoral, even Smetana, in entirely his own way, of course. Thus the passionate tremelos and the sense of physical movement. Bruckner, dancing!  The relatively restrained forces of the LSO keep, the textures vigorous and lively. Very well suited to Roth's energetic style.  



Royal Opera House

April 5

Ballet and Dance at the Royal Opera House 2017/18

Marianela Nuñez in Giselle © ROH 2016. Photograph by Tristram Kenton Details of The Royal Ballet's 2017/18 Season have been announced. The full production list is as follows: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland 27 September—28 October 2017 Choreography: Christopher Wheeldon Music: Joby Talbot Cast TBC Follow Alice down the rabbit hole in Christopher Wheeldon’s exuberant ballet, inspired by Lewis Carroll’s much-loved book. Jeux (part of MacMillan: A National Celebration) 18–24 October 2017 (Clore Studio Upstairs) Choreography: Wayne Eagling after Kenneth MacMillan and Vaslav Nijinsky Music: Claude Debussy Cast TBC As part of Kenneth MacMillan: a National Celebration, The Royal Ballet dances Wayne Eagling’s short ballet inspired by MacMillan’s re-creation of Nijinsky’s lost Debussy work. Concerto / Le Baiser de la fée / Elite Syncopations (part of MacMillan: A National Celebration) 18–19 October 2017 Choreography: Kenneth MacMillan Music: Dmitry Shostakovich / Igor Stravinsky / Scott Joplin Performed by: The Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Northern Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Scottish Ballet Cast TBC Dancers from the UK’s five leading ballet companies perform two of MacMillan’s sunniest works alongside a new production of his dark, classical fairytale, as part of Kenneth MacMillan: a National Celebration. The Judas Tree / Song of the Earth (part of MacMillan: A National Celebration) 24 October—1 November 2017 Choreography: Kenneth MacMillan Music: Gustav Mahler / Brian Elias Performed by: The Royal Ballet and English National Ballet Cast TBC The Royal Ballet and English National Ballet present two of Kenneth MacMillan’s most complex and important works, in the second programme of Kenneth MacMillan: a National Celebration. Sea of Troubles (part of MacMillan: A National Celebration) 26 October—1 November 2017 (Clore Studio Upstairs) Choreography: Kenneth MacMillan Music: Anton Webern and Bohuslav Martinů Cast TBC As part of Kenneth MacMillan: a National Celebration, Yorke Dance Project performs Kenneth MacMillan’s powerful short ballet inspired by Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Gloria / The Judas Tree / Elite Syncopations (part of MacMillan: A National Celebration) 26–27 October 2017 Choreography: Kenneth MacMillan Music: Francis Poulenc / Brian Elias / Scott Joplin Performed by: The Royal Ballet, Northern Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Scottish Ballet Cast TBC Leading UK dance companies perform three ballets that show the range and versatility of MacMillan’s muse, in the third and final programme of Kenneth MacMillan: a National Celebration. The Illustrated 'Farewell' NEW / The Wind NEW / Untouchable 2x WORLD PREMIERES 6–17 November 2017 Choreography: Twyla Tharp / Arthur Pita / Hofesh Shechter Music: Joseph Haydn / Frank Moon and Christopher Austin / Hofesh Shechter and Nell Catchpole Cast TBC Twyla Tharp and Arthur Pita create new works for The Royal Ballet, in a programme that includes the first revival of Hofesh Shechter’s 2015 work for the Company. Sylvia 23 November—16 December 2017 Choreography: Frederick Ashton Music: Léo Delibes Cast TBC Frederick Ashton’s delightful full-length classical ballet is a charming feast for the senses, set to Delibes’ marvellous score. The Nutcracker 5 December 2017—10 January 2018 Choreography: Peter Wright after Lev Ivanov Music: Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky Cast TBC A young girl’s enchanted present leads her on a wonderful Christmas adventure in this beautiful classical ballet, danced to Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score. Giselle 19 January—9 March 2018 Choreography: Marius Petipa after Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot Music: Adolphe Adam revised by Lars Paine Cast TBC The greatest of all Romantic ballets, Peter Wright’s production of Marius Petipa’s classic is a tale of betrayal, the supernatural and love that transcends death. The Winter's Tale 13 February—21 March 2018 Choreography: Christopher Wheeldon Music: Joby Talbot Cast TBC Shakespeare’s tale of love and loss becomes compelling dance drama in Christopher Wheeldon’s ballet adaptation, with music by Joby Talbot. NEW Wayne McGregor / The Age of Anxiety / NEW Christopher Wheeldon 2x WORLD PREMIERES 15 March—13 April 2018 Choreography: Wayne McGregor / Liam Scarlett / Christopher Wheeldon Music: Leonard Bernstein Cast TBC The Royal Ballet celebrates the centenary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth with an all-Bernstein programme from the Company’s three associate choreographers, Wayne McGregor, Liam Scarlett and Christopher Wheeldon. Manon 29 March—16 May 2018 Choreography: Kenneth MacMillan Music: Jules Massenet Cast TBC Kenneth MacMillan’s masterpiece of modern ballet is revived this Season as part of continuing celebrations of MacMillan’s profound impact on British ballet, to mark the 25th anniversary of his death. Obsidian Tear / Marguerite and Armand / Elite Syncopations 14 April—11 May 2018 Choreography: Wayne McGregor / Frederick Ashton / Kenneth MacMillan Music: Esa-Pekka Salonen / Franz Liszt / Scott Joplin Performed by: The Royal Ballet Cast TBC Characteristic works from three of The Royal Ballet’s Resident Choreographers – Wayne McGregor, Frederick Ashton and Kenneth MacMillan – display the diversity of The Royal Ballet and its virtuoso dancers. Swan Lake NEW PRODUCTION 17 May—21 June 2018 Choreography: Liam Scarlett after Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov Music: Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky Cast TBC The Royal Ballet presents a new production of Tchaikovsky’s magnificent classical ballet, with additional choreography by Liam Scarlett and designs by John Macfarlane. The Royal Ballet School Summer Performance 2018 8 July 2018 This summer showcase offers a chance to see the depth and breadth of talent emerging from The Royal Ballet School. What are you most looking forward to in the 2017/18 Season? Let us know in the comments below or using the #ROH201718 hashtag on Twitter.

Claude Debussy
(1862 – 1918)

Claude Debussy (August 22, 1862 - March 25, 1918) was a French composer. Along with Maurice Ravel, he was one of the most prominent figures working within the field of impressionist music, though he himself intensely disliked the term when applied to his compositions. Debussy is among the most important of all French composers, and a central figure in European music of the turn of the 20th century. He was made Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1903. His music is noted for its sensory component and for not often forming around one key or pitch. Often Debussy's work reflected the activities or turbulence in his own life. His music virtually defines the transition from late-Romantic music to 20th century modernist music. In French literary circles, the style of this period was known as symbolism, a movement that directly inspired Debussy both as a composer and as an active cultural participant.



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