About the program
The programme selects from French music spanning about eight decades. The oldest piece is the young Berlioz’s La mort de Cléopâtre (The Death of Cleopatra), a solo cantata on the poem of Pierre-Ange Vieillard, written in 1829, at around the same time as the Fantastic Symphony. Called a scène lyrique by its composer, the piece earned him the very coveted Rome Award.
The other pieces on the programme are the products of a short period of musical history. The incidental music for the 1898 London production of Pelléas and Melisande, Maurice Maeterlinck’s drama, was composed by Gabriel Fauré. It attests to the significance of the play for Maeterlinck’s contemporaries that it went on to inspire Schoenberg and Sibelius, while Debussy turned it into an opera. Fauré himself later used the incidental music in a four-movement suite for concert hall performance.
“The title ‘Valses nobles et sentimentales’ (Noble and Sentimental Wltzes) sufficiently indicates my intention of composing a series of waltzes in imitation of Schubert. … [They] were first performed amid protestations and boos at a concert… in which the names of the composers were not revealed. The audience voted on the probable authorship of each piece. The authorship of my piece was recognized—by a slight majority,” wrote Ravel in an autobiographical sketch. The concert in question took place on 9 May 1911, in Paris. The orchestral version was written a year later, in 1912.
It was also in Paris, in October 1905, three years after the premiere of his opera Pelléas and Mélisande, that Debussy’s La mer (The Sea) was presented. What he called a set of symphonic sketches, and what is now considered a masterpiece of 20th-century music, owed its belated admittance to the orchestral repertoire to Toscanini.
2 500 HUF / 4 600 HUF / 5 900 HUF / 8 400 HUF / 13 600 HUF
Anna Caterina Antonacci, soprano