Today we present a selection of varied French pieces from the Baroque period to the early 20th century, including a good many famous names — and some not quite so well known who also have a place in the French classical pantheon.
Some of those lesser-known composers include Jean-Joseph Mouret, whose dramatic works made him very popular in the Baroque period, although he has now largely faded from view, with the possible exception of one piece you’ll recognise at once; and Marc-Antoine Charpentier, another French Baroque composer we’ll be hearing from today.
We’ll also be featuring the music of Francis Jean Marcel Poulenc (1899–1963), a member of the French group Les six. He composed in a wide range of styles, from solo piano music to full orchestral music, both sacred and secular. Listen out in particular for the music from his ballet Les Biches.
We’ll also be playing the melodic and tuneful work of Gabriel Faure — regarded very much as a “pop” composer at the time, much as we might regard Andrew Lloyd-Webber or Karl Jenkins today — including some of his pieces for two pianos such the Dolly Suite, and his utterly beautiful Requiem.
Plus you’ll hear Joseph Canteloube’s beautiful Chants d’Auvergne… and did you know that Sir William Walton got sued for copyright infringement for including the best-known tune in his music for Olivier’s film of Henry V (1944)?
The image shows the Eiffel Tower being struck by lightning on June 3, 1902. Some content based on Wikipedia material.
Today’s programme is presented by Elrik Merlin. If you are in the United States or Canada, please click here to launch the Stream Licensing player. To listen from outside North America, click here to start your player .
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