Claude Debussy's "Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune" peformed by the National Youth Orchestra of the USA conducted by Valery Gergiev. Recorded at Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, on July 21, 2016.
Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, known in English as Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, is a symphonic poem for orchestra by Claude Debussy, approximately 10 minutes in duration. It was first performed in Paris on December 22, 1894, conducted by Gustave Doret. The flute solo was played by Georges Barrère.
Debussy's work later provided the basis for the ballet Afternoon of a Faun choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky and a later version by Jerome Robbins.
The original orchestral version was completed in 1894, and Debussy reworked it for performance on two pianos in 1895. The work is considered a quintessential example of musical Impressionism, a compositional style popular at the turn of the 20th century that was influenced by the artistic school of the same name.
Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun is a musical evocation of Stéphane Mallarmé's poem Afternoon of a Faun, in which a faun – a half-man, half-goat creature of ancient Greek legend – awakes to revel in sensuous memories of forest nymphs.
Debussy begins with a sinuous flute melody evocative of a graceful female form. Gently swelling phrases for strings, harp, and horns are soon added. The music proceeds without abrupt shifts; themes blend into each other, slowly rising and falling. The middle section features clarinet and oboe solos before the flute gradually retakes the spotlight. In the final moments, airy touches of percussion from finger cymbals are heard.
Source: en.wikipedia.org | Betsy Schwarm (britannica.com)
Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
♪ Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune / Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun (1894)
National Youth Orchestra of the USA
Conductor: Valery Gergiev
In summer 2016, the National Youth Orchestra of the USA performed two ambitious programs with two renowned conductors: Christoph Eschenbach and Valery Gergiev. In order to prepare two complete concerts, NYO-USA musicians had a longer residency at Purchase College, rehearsing for three full weeks leading up to the six-concert tour. James Ross, director of orchestral activities at the University of Maryland, returned to lead the NYO-USA faculty for a fourth consecutive year, made up of principal players from some of the country’s finest professional orchestras.
For the first time, two young musicians were selected as apprentice composers for NYO-USA. During the Purchase residency, they had the opportunity to have their music workshopped with musicians from the orchestra, providing experience with orchestration and writing for larger forces and creating opportunities for dialogue between instrumentalists and composers who are peers. American composer Sean Shepherd served as a mentor and teacher for the young composers. The apprentice composers joined an apprentice orchestra manager, apprentice librarian, and two apprentice conductors as members of the 2016 NYO-USA orchestra.
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100 Years After Debussy's Death, He Remains the First ‘Modern’ Composer – An essay on Claude Debussy by Stephen Hough in the New York Times
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Claude Debussy: Images, D'un cahier d'esquisses, L'Isle joyeuse, Deux arabesques, etc. – Zoltán Kocsis (Audio video)