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Friday 20 and Saturday 21 July at 8pm Melbourne Town Hall
Tadaaki Otaka conductorKatarina Karnus mezzo-sopranoJean-Efflam Bavouzet piano
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Ravel Daphnis and Chloe: Suite No.2
Ravel Piano Concerto in G
The Crock Group Kent Moving and Storage Lindt & Sprngli
Quinces Scenicruisers Melbourne Brass and Woodwind Nose to Tail
PARTNER MAESTRO LEVEL
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MSO POPS SERIES PRESENTING PARTNER
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about the music
This concert has a duration of approximately two hours, including an interval of 20 minutes.
Saturday evenings performance will be broadcast for later broadcast around Australia on ABC Classic FM (on analogue and digital radio), and for streaming on its website.
Please turn off your mobile phone and all other electronic devices before the performance commences.
If you do not need your printed program after the concert, we encourage you to return it to the program stands located in the foyer.
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra programs can be read on-line or downloaded up to a week before each concert, from www.mso.com.au.
MAURICE RAVEL (18751937)
Daphnis and Chloe: Suite No. 2
Daybreak Pantomime General Dance (Bacchanale)
The performing arts owe a great debt to Sergei Diaghilev, who commissioned so many of the orchestral scores which have become modern classics. Diaghilev first brought his Ballets Russes to Paris in 1909, and commissioned Ravel to write a ballet to a scenario by Michel Fokine based on Longus Daphnis and Chloe.
Ravel lingered over this, arguably his greatest score. In it, he sought to depict the Greece of his dreams which, he said, is very similar to that imagined and painted by French artists at the end of the 18th century. But he stressed also that the work was constructed symphonically, according to a strict plan of key sequences, out of a small number of themes, the development of which ensure the works homogeneity. Diaghilev had wanted music which would be important but not dominant. Ravel felt that his music should be supreme. He had refused the smallest cuts. To underline the point he subtitled the piece a choreographic symphony in three parts.
Daphnis and Chloe was first presented at the Thtre du Chtelet on 8 June 1912, but it was not a success and was soon dropped from the companys repertoire. Fortunately its music has become a staple of the concert hall, where it is usually heard in the form of two suites. Tonight you will hear Suite No. 2, comprising the last 20 minutes or so of the full work.
The opening of the ballet introduces Daphnis and Chloe and their shepherd and shepherdess friends. We follow their games, the flirting and rivalry between them and their companions, and the awakening of Daphnis and Chloes love. Chloe is abducted by pirates and Daphnis collapses in despair. Three nymphs invoke the god Pan to come to Daphnis aid. As Chloe, captive in the pirates camp, is ordered to dance, all hope of escape gone, the atmosphere suddenly seems to be full of strange elements. As Fokines scenario goes on:
Here and there, lit by invisible hands, little fires appear. All about, fantastic beings creep and jump. Fauns appear everywhere and surround the pirates. The ground opens, and the formidable profile of Pan can be seen on the mountains in the background, making a menacing gesture. All flee in bewilderment. The scenery seems to melt away...
about the musicRAVELShhrazade
I AsieII La Flute enchanteIII LIndiffrent
Katarina Karnus mezzo- soprano
Maurice Ravel, like the rest of Paris, attended the World Exposition of 1889 and was captivated by the sights and sounds of the Javanese gamelan musicians, and other curiosities from all over the globe. To a society leaving behind the constraints of the Victorian era, the extreme foreignness of the visitors from the East is almost unimaginable now to those brought up with a sense of the global village. Aided by a translation of the Tales of the Arabian Nights, Ravel inspired by the welter of exotic influences that swept through the city planned to write an entire Shhrazade opera. In the end it only amounted to an overture. His friend, known as Tristan Klingsor, produced a rather more successful book of verse.
Shhrazade is the teller of the Tales of the Arabian Nights, a young girl who by her gift for wonderful stories alters the stony heart of the Sultan for the better. The tales give the reader quite a detailed picture of what life in the Orient once might have been like. From Klingsors verses on these themes, Ravel selected three poems: Asie, La Flte enchante and LIndiffrent.
Asia, Asia, Asia, Marvellous old land of fairy-tales.I should like to see Damascus and the cities of Persia/ With their slender minarets in the air./ I should like to see Persia, and India, and then China In the first song, Asie, the shawm-like oboe solo uses intervallic patterns of semitone augmented second semitone. This is a sequence which is stereotypically associated with traditional music from the Middle East, and would therefore have seemed to Ravel a natural choice for those sections of the poem which deal with that region. When China becomes the focus, he uses much the same kind of aural allusion, this time involving pentatonic scales
and open fifths. Ravels choice of instrumentation for the Chinese verses is evocative, too, introducing celeste and gong. Word-painting is evident in his choice of a rocking, arpeggiated theme for moments where the narrator dreams of ships and sailing away to foreign climes.
The principal distinguishing feature of La Flte enchante is the drowsily beautiful flute solo which drapes itself around the soprano line, but the composer also gives us little touches of the oriental motifs presented in the first song (the augmented second interval, for example). Ravel holds the dream-like quality of the poetry to the very end, leaving listeners hanging on an interrupted cadence.
From the beginning of LIndiffrent, the listener is lulled into the warm, seductive evening of a land where attractive strangers might sing in an unknown and charming language on ones doorstep, but then pass on [their] way. Ravel once indicated that the key to his personality lay hidden in this song; perhaps this was a reference to the continuing debate about his sexual orientation, or the real reason why he never married, or just his occasional periods of loneliness
K.P. Kemp Symphony Australia
The MSO was the first of the former ABC orchestras to perform Ravels Shhrazade, on 17 September 1956, with conductor Kurt Woess and soprano Victoria de los Angeles. The Orchestra most recently performed the work in May 1991 with Edward Downes and Yvonne Minton.
It is at this point that Suite No. 2 begins, with the sunrise (Daybreak) masterfully derived from a simple rising sequence. The pastoral atmosphere of the scene is emphasised by imitation of birdsongs and the piping of the two shepherds who unite Daphnis with Chloe. Daphnis knows from Chloes crown that she has been saved by Pan in remembrance of his love for Syrinx. Daphnis and Chloe mime the courtship of Syrinx by Pan, accompanied appropriately enough by a florid solo flute (Pantomime). The concluding General Dance, originally designated bacchante, represents the joyful celebration of the lovers and shepherds. Composed in 5/4, this metre initially posed some difficulty for Diaghilevs dancers until they found a way of using their bosss name as a mnemonic (DIA-ghi-lev, SER-gei DIA-ghi-lev...).
Gordon Kalton Williams Symphony Australia 1997
The MSO was the first of the former ABC orchestras to perform either of the suites from Daphnis and Chloe, on 4 May 1940 under conductor Antal Dorati. The Orchestra most recently performed Suite No. 2 at the Sidney Myer Free Concert on 14 February 2009, conducted by Oleg Caetani.
THE FOKINES IN DAPHNIS AND CHLOE, 1912
about the music1. Asie
Asie, Asie, AsieVieux pays merveilleux des contes de nourriceO dort la fantaisie comme une impratrice,En sa fort tout emplie de mystreAsie, je voudrais men aller avec la goletteQui se berce ce soir dans le portMystrieuse et solitaire,Et qui dploie enfin ses voiles violettesComme un immense oiseau de nuit dans le ciel dor.Je voudrais men aller vers des les de fleurs,En ecoutant chanter la mer perverseSur un vieux rythme ensorceleur.
Je voudrais voir Damas et les villes de PerseAvec les minarets lgers dans lair.Je voudrais voir de beaux turbans de soieSur des visages noirs aux dents claires;Je voudrais voir des yeux sombres damourEt des prunelles brillantes de joie,En des peaux jaunes comme des oranges;Je voudrais voir des vtements de veloursEt des habits longues franges.Je voudrais voir des calumets entre des bouchesTout entoures de barbe blanche;Je voudrais voir dpres marchands aux regards louches,Et des cadis, et des vizirsQui du seul mouvement de leur doigt qui se pencheAccordent vie ou mort au gr de leur dsir.
Je voudrais voir la Perse, et lInde, et puis la Chine,Les mandarins ventrus sous les ombrelles,Et les princesses aux mains fines,Et les lettrs qui se querellentSur la posie et sur la beaut;Je voudrais mattarder au palais enchantEt comme un voyageur trangerContempler loisir des paysages peintsSur des toffes en des cadres de