Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra

Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra
Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Maurice Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé Suite No.2 – Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Lahav Shani (HD 1080p)

Under the baton of the Israeli conductor Lahav Shani, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra performs Maurice Ravel's Daphnis et Chloé Suite No.2. Recorded at Charles Bronfman Audiotorium in Tel Aviv, on December 31, 2016.

Daphnis and Chloé was the largest work Ravel was ever to compose, occupying him from early 1909 until April 5, 1912. It is also widely regarded as his most impressive achievement, and among the greatest ballet scores of the twentieth century. The work calls for an enormous orchestra, with approximately fifteen distinct percussion instruments and a wordless chorus, heard both offstage and onstage. Given its sheer size, the ballet score is much better known by excerpts, and when heard in concert, is usually represented by one of two suites that Ravel extracted from it. The first suite, of 1911, draws material from the "Nocturne," "Interlude" and "Danse guerriere", while Ravel designated the final three numbers: "Lever du jour", "Pantomime", and "Danse générale" as Suite No.2, following the score's completion in 1912.

Based on the pastoral drama by the Greek poet Longus, the ballet's scenario was devised by Mikhail Fokine, a classically trained dancer and choreographer for Sergie Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. In his autobiographical sketch, the composer described its conception: "In writing it I sought to compose a broad musical fresco, less concerned with archaic fidelity than with loyalty to the Greece of my dreams, which in many ways resembled that imagined and depicted by French artists at the latter part of the eighteenth century. The work is constructed symphonically on a very strict tonal plan, by means of a few themes, the development of which assures the work's homogeneity".

The first two scenes, which comprise Suite No.1, portray the courtship of Daphnis and Chloé, and the latter's abduction by, and miraculous escape from, a band of pirates. The third scene, comprising the three numbers of Suite No.2, takes place in a grove sacred to the god Pan and begins with daybreak following the pirate's night of terror.

Eventually the muted sounds of dawn give way to a stronger, more dynamic melodic thread in the strings, rising to an impassioned lyrical theme. Throughout this extended passage, Daphnis awakes, anxiously looks for Chloé, and sees her among a group of shepherdesses. The two lovers embrace as the melody reaches an impassioned climax.

In gratitude to Pan, whose intervention saved Chloé from the pirates, Daphnis and Chloé mime the adventures of the god and his beloved nymph, Syrinx, to a sultry flute accompaniment. Marked "expressive and supple", the solo is actually shared by the four members of the flute section – piccolo, two flutes, and alto flute – but played as if written for a single instrument. Chloé dances to this flute music, which becomes increasingly energetic, and she in turn, more animated. The motion suddenly breaks at a woodwind descent, and with a last whirl, she falls languorously into the arms of Daphnis. In a brief but passionate epilogue, a group of young women enter, dressed as bacchantes and shaking tambourines, followed by a group of young men. Against a dizzying 5/4 meter, Ravel deploys the full resources of the orchestra to create an exhilarating Dionysian celebration of physical love.

Source: Brian Wise (allmusic.com)

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)

♪ Daphnis et Chloé Suite No.2, M.57b (1913)

i. Lever du jour
ii. Pantomime
iii. Danse générale

Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Lahav Shani

IPO 80th Birthday Celebrations

Charles Bronfman Audiotorium, Tel Aviv-Yafo, December 31, 2016

(HD 1080p)

Lahav Shani has established himself as one of the most talked about young conducting talents making a huge impression with his astonishing maturity and natural, instinctive musicality. In September 2018 he takes over as Chief Conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, succeeding Yannick Nézet-Séguin and becoming the youngest Chief Conductor in the orchestra's history. In the 2020-2021 season, Shani will succeed Zubin Mehta as Music Director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, and will be the orchestra's Music Director Designate from 2019-2020.

In the 2017-2018 season, Shani became Principal Guest Conductor of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, following a number of appearances with the orchestra since his debut in May 2015, including a major European tour in January 2016. Shani also works regularly with the Berlin Staatskapelle, both at the Berlin Staatsoper and also for symphonic concerts. In spring 2019 he will return to conduct "Don Giovanni" at the Berlin Staatsoper.

Recent and upcoming highlights as a guest conductor include engagements with the Vienna Philharmonic, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Dresden Staatskapelle, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Boston Symphony, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Philadelphia Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Bamberger Symphoniker and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France.

Shani's close relationship with the Israel Philharmonic started in 2007 when he performed Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto under the baton of Zubin Mehta and continued in the following years as both a pianist and also as a double-bass player. Shani was born in Tel Aviv in 1989 and started his piano studies aged six with Hannah Shalgi, continuing with Prof. Arie Vardi at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music in Tel Aviv. He went on to complete his studies in conducting with Prof. Christian Ehwald and piano with Prof. Fabio Bidini, both at the Academy of Music Hanns Eisler Berlin. Whilst a student he was mentored by Daniel Barenboim. In 2013 he won First Prize in the Gustav Mahler International Conducting Competition in Bamberg.

As a pianist Shani made his solo recital debut at the Boulez Saal in Berlin in July 2018. He has play-directed piano concertos with many orchestras including the Philharmonia Orchestra, Staatskapelle Berlin, and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. Recent concerto engagements include appearances with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Beethoven Triple Concerto with Renaud and Gautier Capuçon with the Israel Philharmonic. Shani also has considerable experience performing chamber music appearing recently at the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, the Cologne Philharmonie and the Verbier Festival.

Source: intermusica.co.uk

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