LPO-0059 CD Booklet: Ravel Daphnis and Chloe
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RAVEL DAphnis Et ChLo
BERnARD hAitinK conductor LonDon phiLhARMoniC oRChEstRA John ALLDis ChoiR
A BBC recording
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Daphnis et Chlo, Ravels masterpiece, was composed to Serge Diaghilevs commission for the Ballets Russes. Begun in 1909, it took the composer more than two years to complete, the closing scene alone occupying a full twelve months. There were disagreements over the scenario, and the stage production itself was not achieved without quarrels, but the ballet finally opened at the Chtelet Theatre, Paris, on 8 June 1912 with Nijinsky and Karsavina dancing the title roles and Pierre Monteux conducting. Fokin was the choreographer and Bakst the designer. The ballet was not a real success, partly because its creators had divergent conceptions of ancient Greece. A later ballet, choreographed by Sir Frederick Ashton in 1951, firmly established itself in the repertoire of the Royal Ballet, but the fact remains that Ravels score is largely self-sufficient. The composer, who described his work as a Symphonie chorographique, soon realised that the music could stand alone in the concert hall, and for that purpose he extracted two sets of symphonic fragments. However, in this recording we hear the complete score.
Fokins scenario draws its simple love story from a pastoral by the Greek sophist, Longus,
who lived in the second or third century AD. For the music Ravel aimed to compose a broad musical fresco, concerned less with archaic fidelity than with loyalty to the Greece of my dreams, which is associated with the Greece imagined and depicted by the French artists of the latter part of the 18th century. The score is constructed, as he pointed out, like a symphony with a strict system of tonality and a small number of themes, whose recurrence ensures homogeneity. It employs a large orchestra with 15 woodwind (including alto flute and E-flat clarinet), four trumpets, two harps and, among the plentiful percussion, a wind machine. There is also a wordless chorus, which makes a telling contribution to the atmosphere evoked by the music.
In the theatre the curtain rises to disclose a meadow on the edge of a sacred wood on a spring afternoon. To one side is a grotto, at the entrance to which stand sculptures of three nymphs carved from the rock. Towards the back a large rock vaguely suggests the form of the god Pan. A chain of fifths rises mysteriously through the muted orchestral strings, a flute announces the theme associated with the nymphs of Pan, distant voices sigh and a solo horn introduces the theme of the goatherd,
RAVEL DAPHNIS ET CHLO
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Daphnis. The tempo quickens slightly as young men and girls enter bearing gifts for the nymphs, and to a new melody on divided strings they perform a religious dance. Daphnis enters (oboe and flute solos with pizzicato violins) and joins the shepherdess, Chlo, as the dance resumes and rises to a climax. Daphnis and Chlo pay homage before the statues, and the dancers stop as they see the loving pair (horn and violin solos). The girls draw Daphnis into a lively dance (trumpet theme). Chlo, feeling jealous, joins the men in a waltz-like dance the time signature is actually 7/4 and eventually allows Dorcon, a rough cowherd, to kiss her. Daphnis angrily pushes him aside and makes tender overtures to Chlo. A dance contest between the two men is proposed. Dorcons grotesque performance (bassoons and bass drum) is laughed to scorn; his rivals graceful 6/8 dance wins the prize, a kiss from Chlo, and Dorcon is chased away amid laughter.
Daphnis is briefly left to himself, but Lyceion, a married woman, enters (cadenza for clarinets) and attempts to seduce him with a dance. Annoyed by her failure, she mocks him and departs. Disturbing noises are heard in the offing, and marauding pirates rush upon the
scene. Daphnis runs in search of Chlo, but she is abducted by the pirates. Daphnis curses the nymphs for failing to protect her, and falls fainting to the ground. Supernatural light (tremolos on divided strings) illuminates the scene and the three nymphs come to life, their theme heard in turn on flute, horn and clarinet as each figure steps from her pedestal. They move into a slow dance, then revive Daphnis and lead him to Pans rock. Slowly the god himself becomes visible (rising tremolos), and Daphnis prostrates himself in supplication.
A choral interlude accompanies a scene change to the pirate camp on a rocky coast. The pirates return from their raid and go into a ferocious dance. Then Chlo, her hands bound, is brought forward and commanded to dance. She pleads in vain for her liberty (cor anglais and other woodwind) and twice tries briefly to escape, but is finally carried off triumphantly by the pirates leader. At this moment a strange light invests the camp. Satyrs surround the pirates, the menacing shadow of Pan is seen on the rocks and the pirates flee.
The third scene, which follows without pause, returns to the grotto of Scene One. Daphnis lies asleep as day breaks and here Ravel
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provides a marvellously sensitive evocation of a woodland dawn. At first there is only the murmur of rivulets formed by dew from the rocks. As the light strengthens, birdsong is heard and two shepherds (piccolo and E-flat clarinet) pass by. Herdsmen find Daphnis and waken him. He looks in anguish for Chlo (theme on clarinets and divided violas) and suddenly she appears. They rush into each others arms as the sunrise reaches its full splendour. An old shepherd explains (oboe solo) that Pan saved Chlo in remembrance of the nymph, Syrinx, whom the god loved. The young couple now mime the story of Pan and Syrinx, Daphnis at one point fashioning a flute from some stalks and Chlo dancing to the tune he plays. Eventually she falls into his arms and before the altar of the nymphs he pledges his fidelity. Their friends arrive and join the reunited lovers in a joyful, bacchanalian Danse gnrale.
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With an international conducting career spanning five and a half decades, Amsterdam-born Bernard Haitink is one of todays most celebrated conductors. He was Principal Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra from 196779 and has also held the posts of Music Director at the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Dresden Staatskapelle, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and Glyndebourne Festival Opera; and Principal Conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He is Conductor Laureate of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Conductor Emeritus of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and continues to perform regularly with the worlds leading orchestras.
As well as his recordings with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Haitink has recorded widely with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic orchestras and the Bavarian Radio and Boston symphony orchestras. He has also recorded extensively for the LSO Live label and the Chicago Symphony Orchestras Resound label.
He has received many awards in recognition of his services to music, including both an honorary Knighthood and the Companion of Honour in the United Kingdom, and the House Order of Orange-Nassau in the Netherlands.
BERnARD hAitinK conductor
John Alldis (19292010) was one of the foremost chorus masters of his generation. His own professional ensemble, the 16-member John Alldis Choir, was a pioneer in the high-calibre performance of adventurous choral repertoire, but also participated in major recordings of opera alongside such artists as Joan Sutherland, Luciano Pavarotti, Plcido Domingo and Kiri Te Kanawa.
The Choir launched itself in 1962 with the world premire of Alexander Goehrs A Little Cantata of Proverbs. Contemporary music featured highly in the Choirs repertory, with premires of works by Malcolm Williamson, Richard Rodney Bennett and Harrison Birtwistle, many of which were captured on the Argo label. In 1967, the Choir gave the first European performance of Stravinskys Requiem Canticles, conducted by Pierre Boulez.
Alldis additionally acted at different times as chorus master to the London Philharmonic Choir and London Symphony Chorus, preparing them for numerous recordings. With all his ensembles, he had the ability to draw the best from his singers. Inspired by his affability and charisma on the one hand, and his seriousness of purpose and dedication on the other, they would routinely deliver their maximum potential for him.
John ALLDis ChoiR
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The London Philharmonic Orchestra is one of the worlds great orchestras with a reputation secured by its performances in the concert hall and opera house, its many award-winning recordings, its trail-blazing international tours and its pioneering education work. Distinguished conductors who have held positions with the Orchestra since its foundation in 1932 by Sir Thomas Beecham include Sir Adrian Boult, Sir John Pritchard, Bernard Haitink, Sir Georg Solti, Klaus Tennstedt, Franz Welser-Mst and Kurt Masur. Vladimir Jurowski was appointed the Orchestras Principal Guest Conductor in March 2003 and became Principal Conductor in September 2007. The London Philharmonic Orchestra has been resident symphony orchestra at Southbank Centres Royal Festival Hall since 1992 and there it presents its main series of concerts between September and
May each year. In summer, the Orchestra moves to Sussex where it has been Resident at Glyndebourne Festival Opera for over 40 years. The Orchestra also performs at venues around the UK and has made numerous tours to America, Europe and Japan, and visited India, Hong Kong, China, South Korea, Australia, South Africa, Oman and Abu Dhabi.
The London Philharmonic Orchestra made its first recordings on 10 October 1932, just three days after its first public performance. It has recorded and broadcast regularly ever since, and in 2005 established its own record label. These recordings are taken mainly from live concerts given by conductors including LPO Principal Conductors from Beecham and Boult, through Haitink, Solti and Tennstedt, to Masur and Jurowski. lpo.org.uk
LonDon phiLhARMoniC oRChEstRA
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Also available on the London Philharmonic Orchestras labelLP
This blazing account of the Glagolitic Mass is searing in every respect The Glasgow Herald
A German Requiem that doesnt rush and achieves a remarkable inwardness ... I found so many things to enjoy. Gramophone
A performance of revelations, and easily the most illuminating to have appeared on disc in a very long time. Gramophone
Buried treasure indeed A rewarding and fascinating document, and one not to be missed. Classicalsource.com
This has to be one of the best recordings around of Sibeliuss Fifth. Classic FM magazine
The Fourth Symphony is full of charm and tactile invention, vividly realised in this live recording. The Sunday Times
For more information or to purchase CDs telephone +44 (0)20 7840 4242 or visit lpo.org.uk
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MAURiCE RAVEL (18751937)
57:48 Daphnis et Chlo
01 08:07 part i: Introduction et Danse religieuse 02 03:28 Les jeunes filles attirent Daphnis Danse Gnrale03 01:45 Danse grotesque de Dorcon 04 07:57 Danse lgre et gracieuse de Daphnis Lyceion danse Les pirates 05 05:24 Un lumire irrelle enveloppe le paysage Danse lente et mystrieuse Daphnis se prosterne suppliant06 08:04 part ii: Voix, trs lointaines Anim et trs rude (Danse guerrire) Bryaxis ordonne damener la captive 07 05:53 Danse suppliante de Chlo Bryaxis veut lentraner Lombre de Pn apparat 08 04:12 part iii: Lever du jour Daphnis cherche pour Chlo et il rve delle Daphnis et Chlo miment laventure de Pn et de Syrinx 09 08:50 Chlo rapparat 10 04:08 Anim (Entre un groupe de jeunes filles costumes en bacchantes) Danse Gnrale Danse de Daphnis et Chlo Danse de Dorcon Danse finale (Bacchanale)
BERnARD hAitinK conductor LonDon phiLhARMoniC oRChEstRA John ALLDis ChoiR Roy Gillard leader
Recorded live at Southbank Centres RoYAL FEstiVAL hALL, London
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