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Current time:0:00Total duration:12:11

Maurice Ravel: "Daphnis et Chloé", analysis by Gerard Schwarz

Video transcript

maurice ravel one of the great composer of the 20th century he was commissioned by de alcalá to do a ballet dance and Chloe premiered two years after the Firebird very much the same cast of characters the same choreographers the same dancers the same huge orchestra except Ravel added a chorus besides the huge orchestra a kind of similar type story in this case it was a story about the love between dothis and khloe and khloe was abducted and then through the intervention of pan who was the god of playing the flute and his love for the syrinx that they Chloe was found and that as a Chloe lived happily ever after more or less something like that from this great ballet that Ravel wrote he created two Suites and Ravel used basically the first part of the ballet for sweet one and the second part of the ballet for sweet too sweet number two is the one that's done the most often the piece begins in the most remarkable way the woodwinds two flutes and then two clarinets play these incredibly fast notes one of the most important orchestral excerpts for these instruments and hard and fast and soft the harp playing glissandos underneath that and the double basses just underpinning the whole thing with the kind of melodic gesture not a melody certainly it is an incredible moment it creates such an atmosphere it is just about to be daybreak you could just feel how the Sun is about to come up and Ravel uses this melody and this melody can go on forever it's a kind of melody that you can repeat over and over again and just keeps going but if you think of that little gesture this little melody and if you orchestrate it put it in different instruments and do it at interesting ways it can be a glorious moment and that little bird comes in the piccolo and the solo violins so as the daybreak and the Sun is coming up birds are there shepherds start to be seen coming through obviously they're getting up and getting ready to take care of their sheep and doing their job in a sense you can hear this little solo from the piccolo and the little solo from the e-flat clarinet we have a group of herdsmen coming and for the herdsmen Ravel uses a slightly different melody and you can hear the similarities so we have all of these filigree the glissando 's of the heart these melodies that are being developed but nothing no great gestures of and some new material comes in played by the viola and the clarinet and you can feel that what's happening now of course is that deafness is trying to find Chloe now if you didn't know that it wouldn't matter it's just it's what was needed at the moment you could tell musically after all of this all these beautiful gestures you can't just do beautiful gestures forever and he gets a little a little agitated section and the story datas is looking for Chloe and she appears surrounded by the shepherds you in the next juncture of this ballet we get to the part where of course Chloe has been abducted and now Pan is helping deafness to find her in fact they kind of reverse roles daftness becomes pan and Chloe become as the syrinx that pan loved and it leads to the central section of the piece which is this incredible flute solo the greatest flute solo probably ever written very simple accompaniment pizzicato string 2nd and 4th Warren harp and this beautiful flute solo the flute solar becomes more and more agitated and eventually Chloe falls into darkness 'as arms and it's this mini concerto for flute section so you see the first flute playing a cascading scale and then the second pick sit up the alto flute is the final one starts the piccolo and works its way down in the section and then in fact what Ravel does is he continues that and it continues to be a little a little flute section concerto right in the middle of this piece a phenomenal musical instruments finally comes to an end and at this moment the nymphs are are falling in love and they pledge their love for each other and they dedicate some sheep to their to their joy together and it is represented by this consummate gorgeous Corral this leads us to the first inkling of the fast section because everything to now believes been relatively slow a build-up for the flutes which is and then it comes back again and then we have this little Corral for the sheep and the shepherds the women of the company in this case the dance company enter to do a special general dance it starts out in where where the music that is going to permeate the rest of the piece is sounded but only a few bars because immediately it comes back down and we hear that same beautiful chorale a solo for the alto flute and then the general dance begins this is the dance that's basically in five there are a few moments that are in three but basically in five so it's five beats per bar accent on two and that in itself is unusual at one point after this tremendous buildup like any great composer he could have ended it just there instead he brings everything back down everything back down to the essence which is the rhythm and in a very soft way the snare drum and the double basses play this and it starts over again and it's it's so interesting that composers do this because you know it could end he brings it back and then when it does end it's even more exciting and the end of the deficit Chloe second suite is among the most exciting pieces of music one could ever hear using every seven percussion four trumpets four flutes oboes English horn clam and it's a huge Orchestra and full of what we know of reveled one of the greatest orchestrators of all time you