Saturday, March 11, 2017
Terrified and delighted: Works by Claude Debussy and André Caplet inspired by Edgar Allan Poe – Musicians from the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra (HD 1080p)
Is it surprised you want to be, perhaps even frightened, you should definitely catch on to the musicians from the Gothenburg Symphony when they play French works inspired by Edgar Allan Poe.
The musicians from the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra begin with deceptively beautiful music by Debussy, the Danses for Harp and String Quartet, giving them a firm grip of the audience, later the music of André Caplet, student to and friend of Debussy.
Οι μουσικοί από τη Συμφωνική Ορχήστρα του Γκέτεμποργκ, Erik Groenestein-Hendriks (άρπα), Justyna Jara (πρώτο βιολί), Samuel Runsteen (δεύτερο βιολί), Tuula Fleivik Nurmo (βιόλα), Jun Sasaki (βιολοντσέλο) και Charles DeRamus (κοντραμπάσο), ερμηνεύουν έργα των Γάλλων συνθετών Κλωντ Ντεμπυσσύ ("Danse sacrée et danse profane", και Κουαρτέτο εγχόρδων σε Σολ ελάσσονα, έργο 10), και Αντρέ Καπλέ ("Conte fantastique"), τα οποία είναι εμπνευσμένα από το λογοτεχνικό έργο του Αμερικανού ποιητή και πεζογράφου και ενός από τους κύριους εκπροσώπους του αμερικανικού ρομαντισμού, Έντγκαρ Άλλαν Πόε.
Η συναυλία δόθηκε στην Αίθουσα Μουσικής Δωματίου του Μεγάρου Μουσικής του Γκέτεμποργκ, στις 6 Νοεμβρίου 2016.
Chamber Concert: Terrified and Delighted
Works by Claude Debussy and André Caplet inspired by Edgar Allan Poe
Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
♪ Danse sacrée et danse profane (1904)
i. Danse sacrée
ii. Danse profane
♪ String Quartet in G minor, Op.10 (1893)
i. Animé et très décidé
ii. Assez vif et bien rythmé
iii. Andantino, doucement expressif
iv. Très modéré
André Caplet (1878-1925)
♪ Conte fantastique (1908)
Musicians from the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra:
Erik Groenestein-Hendriks, harp
Justyna Jara, violin I
Samuel Runsteen, violin II
Tuula Fleivik Nurmo, viola
Jun Sasaki, cello
Charles DeRamus, double bass
Gothenburg Concert Hall, Chamber Hall, Stenhammarsalen, November 6, 2016
Danse sacrée et danse profane is a piece composed by Claude Debussy between April and May 1904. The piece was commissioned by Pleyel for Brussels Conservatoire competition, and it was first published in Paris by Durand, in May 1904. Its first performance was also in Paris the 6th of November 1904, at the Concert Colonne, under the direction of Édouard Colonne, and the harp soloist Madame Wurmser-Delcourt.
Debussy began work on the composition of his only string quartet in 1892. Little documentary evidence, save for one or two passing oblique references in letters to friends remains to indicate his rate of progress. The final movement, however, caused him no little trouble, and only in August 1893 did Debussy feel able to write to his colleague André Poniatowski that "I think I can finally show you the last movement of the quartet, which has made me really miserable!".
Cast in the traditional four movements, Debussy's Quartet in G minor, Op.10 has as its most distinctive feature its overarching preoccupation with timbre and sonority. The work as a whole offers a compendium of string-playing techniques, yet it also displays a concision of thought rare, perhaps, in a composition often regarded (along with the quartet by Ravel) as one of the seminal impressionist works in the string quartet genre.
Its fascinating and readily palpable thematic concentration seems all the more remarkable when one realizes that the very first theme of the opening movement (Animé et très décidé) comes to furnish almost all of the diverse thematic components for the entire work. Another ingenious feature (possibly less immediately apparent to the listener at first hearing) is that the quartet is less dominated by melodic or harmonic considerations than by a rhythmic flexibility which carries the potential for seemingly endless variety. In this respect, Debussy's string quartet seems to strongly prefigure those by Bartók. Yet it remains unmistakably a work dominated by the sensuality and longueurs of French late nineteenth century Romanticism, a strong feature of the slow third movement (Andantino doucement expressif).
The work is also strongly predictive of the disjunctive and highly polarized new musical language that would assert itself in the two decades following its completion. The Scherzo (Assez vif et bien rythmé), for example, makes use of the disruptive sonic confrontations that can occur when rapidly alternating pizzicato and bowed passages produce what one commentator has described as "a confusion that forces the listener to concentrate on the textures, rather than the linear form of the music". These apparently disparate elements are then welded together in a finale of striking economy of means, and only at the close does it become really clear that the opening gestures of the work have actually altered themselves and coalesced to produce an organic unity of some 25 minutes' duration.
The work was to be dedicated to Ernest Chausson, whose personal reservations eventually diverted the composer's original intentions. Debussy sold his score for a mere 250 francs to the publishers Durand & Cie, who, as he later recalled, "were cynical enough about it to freely admit that what they were paying me didn't cover all the labor this ‘work’ has entailed". Not surprisingly, the quartet was widely misunderstood at its premiere, given by the Ysayë Quartet on December 29, 1893. At the time, the composer Guy Ropartz was the lone voice in a wilderness of critical lack of interest; he described the quartet as a work "dominated by the influence of young Russia (interestingly, Debussy's patroness in the early 1880s had been Nadezhda von Meck, better known for her support of Tchaikovsky); there are poetic themes, rare sonorities, the first two movements being particularly remarkable".
Source: Michael Jameson (allmusic.com)
Conte Fantastique began life as a tone poem Caplet composed for harp and orchestra in 1908, inspired by Edgar Allen Poe's short story, The Masque of the Red Death. He called it Legende. In 1922, he decided to adapt it for a string quartet with piano or harp. To remove all doubt that it was a programmatic work, Caplet noted in the title that it was based on The Masque of the Red Death. If this were not enough, Caplet provided a lengthy description of what the music describes in a preface to the piano part. The story takes place in a time of a plague which causes bleeding and immediate death, and hence was known as the Red Death. Prince Prospero invites his friends and followers into his castle, locking it so that he and the others will be safe from the horrors outside the walls. As if to taunt the plague, the prince throws a gala masked ball. There is dancing and partying but each hour as an ancient ebony clock strikes the hour, it makes a sound so terrifying that it temporarily paralyzes the merry makers. Then at midnight, a grim visage, bleeding and clothed in rags like a burial shroud appears. Unknown to all, the Red Death has entered, Angered, the prince raises his dagger to stab the apparition but before he can do so, falls dead himself. The revelers grab the figure, rip off its rags and discover there is nothing beneath. The Red Death, now within the castle, quickly begins to kill the revelers until they are all dead and the clock is silent.
Caplet uses the piano (or harp) to express the most dramatic horror – it not only represents the sound of the striking clock, but also the arrival of the Red Death within the castle walls. The music is full of harmonics, glissandos, and other spooky effects which marvelously conjure up an aura of horror. The music is so evocative that the story can easily be discerned from its gloomy and ominous beginning, to the dancing at the ball, which though lively is nonetheless haunted by an uneasy specter of doom. The climax comes when the piano (harp) sounds the 12 strokes of midnight as the Red Death knocks on the door.
André Caplet was born upon a boat underway between the French towns of Le Harve and Honfleur. He studied composition, piano and violin at the Paris Conservatory and was the winner of the 1901 Prix de Rome beating out Ravel for the honor. He subsequently studied conducting with Nikisch and served as conductor of the Boston Opera from 1910 until 1914. Debussy who was a close friend asked Caplet to orchestrate several of his works. Today, if he is remembered at all, it is for these orchestrations. This is unjust, for he was a fine composer in his own right who wrote several very original works. Among them is the Conte Fantastique for Piano or Harp and String Quintet.
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