Classics with a French Accent

in Daily Programme

by Elrik Merlin on Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Paris Sunset Panorama by Moyan Brenn

With the British Government in chaos about the UK’s relationship with the rest of Europe, today we celebrate the Entente Cordiale and present a selection of varied French pieces from the Baroque period to the early 20th century, including pieces by Ravel and a good many other 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 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 at the top of this article depicts Paris, a sunset panorama taken from the top of Notre Dame cathedral. It was shot by Moyan Brenn and is taken from his Flickr Stream. It is used under the terms of the Creative Commons C.C. Attr. 2.0 Gen. (CC BY 2.0) license.

Today’s programme is presented by Elrik Merlin.  Click here to start your player if your browser is set up to pass streams to an external player. 

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