Our next concert:
Saturday 6th July 2019 7.30pm
Tickets not on sale yet - please check back about a month before the concert
A Concert of French Music
Charles Gounod was probably the most successful French composer of the nineteenth century, winning the coveted Prix de Rome for his cantata Fernand in 1839. He is best remembered today for his operas, and his famous setting of Ave Maria adapted from a keyboard prelude by Bach. His first symphony, written in 1855, is a lively, energetic work, full of attractive melodies, and genial good humour.
Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) lived through a time of great musical change, and is now regarded as one of the most original and influential composers of his age. He is sometimes described as the originator of impressionist music. He wrote music to accompany a London production of Maurice Maeterlinck's symbolist play Pelléas et Mélisande in 1898, and later made an orchestral suite of four movements. The third, a sicilienne, is among his most famous compositions.
Both Debussy and Ravel were pupils of Fauré, and are generally regarded as the greatest impressionist composers. Debussy is now best remembered for his piano music, and Ravel for his highly imaginative use of the orchestra. Ravel's Pavane was written in 1899 as a piano piece, and is a slow and intensly beautiful lament for a dead princess based on a Spanish dance. It does not depict any historical character, but is intended to evoke the spirit of the Spanish court dances from the sixteenth century. He orchestrated it in 1910. Debussy's sarabande was also originally composed for the piano. Its orchestral version was created by Ravel after Debussy's death, and is widely regarded as a combination of geniuses
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