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<<  -- 3 --  Robert Anderson    OFTEN RAVISHING


Fascinated by toys and their miniature mechanisms, Ravel wrote his Mother Goose suite for two musical children as a four-hand duet. He had in mind too some fairytale illustrations that had caught his imagination. The later orchestration of the pieces would have provided no examples for the book on instrumentation he planned consisting entirely of musical extracts from his own works where he felt he had got things wrong. The delectable start of 'Beauty and the Beast' makes the point. Of course the beast growls his entrance in a moment, only to be transformed with a harp glissando [listen -- 5 86175 2 track 18, 0:00-1:09].

The tune Purcell wrote for Aphra Behn's play Abdelazer, or the Moor's Revenge. A Tragedy has been so commandeered by Britten that we tend to forget the original was a lengthy 'Rondeau' for strings with two episodes. Purcell liked the tune so much he presented it also in a highly ornamented keyboard version. Despite the friskiness and imagination of many variations devoted to the different instruments and indeed the virtuosic flights of the final fugue, all admirably encompassed by the LPO under Sian Edwards, it is Purcell's sturdy basis to the work that sticks in the mind and is indeed presented by Britten more than once as a commendably unvarnished tale [listen -- 5 86175 2 tracks 22-25].

Copyright © 20 July 2005 Robert Anderson, London UK


Debussy: La Mer etc

5 86167 2 DDD Stereo COMPILATION 74'23" 1979, 1986, 2004 EMI Records Ltd

London Philharmonic Orchestra; Serge Baudo, conductor; London Symphony Orchestra; André Previn (Ibéria)

Claude Debussy (1862-1918): Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune; Jeux - poème dansé; La Mer - Three symphonic sketches; Ibéria (No II of Images)


Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf, and other children's favourites

5 86175 2 DDD Stereo COMPILATION 69'18" 1984, 1990, 2004 EMI Records Ltd

Willie Rushton, narrator (Prokofiev); London Philharmonic Orchestra; Sian Edwards, conductor; English Chamber Orchestra Wind Ensemble (Debussy)

Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953): Peter and the Wolf Op 67; Claude Debussy (1862-1918), arr Graham Sheen (born 1952): Three Pieces from 'Children's Corner' (The Little Shepherd; Jimbo's Lullaby; Golliwogg's Cake-Walk); Maurice Ravel (1875-1937): Mother Goose - Five Children's Pieces; Benjamin Britten (1913-1976): The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra - Variations and Fugue on a theme by Purcell Op 34


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