Chloé Briot (voice) • Vincent Balse (piano)
Claude Debussy: Les Ariettes oubliées (Forgotten Songs);
Nuit d’étoiles (Starry night)
Maurice Ravel: Mélodies grecques (Greek melodies)
Gabriel Fauré: Les Berceaux (Cradles)
Francis Poulenc: C’est ainsi que tu es (That is how you are)
Camille Saint-Saëns: Mélodies persanes (Persian melodies)
One must pick either Ravel or Debussy: if the question arises which of the two was greater, more popular, or more French, you generally have to make a choice. Fortunately, this will not be necessary at the joint marathon hosted by the BFO and Müpa Budapest, where for an entire day, the music of the two composers will be on stage with back-to-back concerts.
Yet another opportunity arises to immerse ourselves in the world of a composer for more than what a single concert would afford. This will be the twelfth music marathon jointly put on by the BFO and Müpa Budapest, this time around celebrating the music of a unique duo, Debussy and Ravel, having previously paid homage to Tchaikovsky, Bach, Beethoven, Bartók, Mozart, Schubert, Dvořák, Stravinsky, Mendelssohn and Schumann, Brahms and most recently Leonard Bernstein.
The names of the two French composers have forever become fused. Although both are considered impressionists, neither really approved of this label. They competed with one another; and each affected, paid attention to, marvelled at and motivated the other. Both were composing music already at the age of ten; literature and the fine arts attracted and inspired them to create as well.
Debussy was convinced he would have more to learn from any artist other than a musician. But what really vitalised him and filled him with a sense of religious awe was the miracle of nature. He was both a visionary, working according to his own rules to create a new musical world, and a conservative guardian of French tradition.
The only love affair Ravel, this true Bohemian, ever had was with music. He drew inspiration from Spanish folklore, and used Greek, Russian, Chinese, Hebrew, Austrian and Hungarian motifs; he also looked to American jazz. His music is lyrical and smart, thorough and determined.
The marathon will be realised by some of the greatest musicians in Hungary and noted soloists, bringing together symphonic orchestras and chamber ensembles. A day with plenty of sensuality, impressions, atmospheres and colours. All we have to do is let it all inspire us.