French music has been important to Esa-Pekka Salonen throughout his life as a musician, and he leads three very different works on this program from the 2014-15 Reveries and Passions festival of French music. The suite from Ravel’s ballet Mother Goose appears to be for children but with other more adult themes emerging, while Debussy’s La damoiselle élue elaborates poetry by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Finally, we get an opera, featuring many performers in many roles and given as many styles of music among them. In interviews below, Salonen goes into greater detail about each piece, and what they represent above and below the surface.
Ravel Mother Goose Suite
Ravel L’enfant et les sortilèges
Chloé Briot, soprano (The Child)
Marie-Eve Munger, soprano (The Fire, The Princess, The Nightingale)
Kate Royal, soprano (A Shepherdess, The Bat, The Owl)
Marianne Crebassa, mezzo-soprano (The Louis XV Chair, A Shepherd, The Squirrel, The Female Cat)
Elodie Méchain, contralto (Mother, The Chinese Cup, The Dragonfly)
Manuel Nuñez Camelino, tenor (The Black Wedgwood Teapot, The Little Old Man, The Frog)
Stéphane Degout, baritone (The Grandfather Clock, The Tomcat)
Eric Owens, bass-baritone (The Armchair, A Tree)
Chicago Symphony Chorus (Shepherds, shepherdesses, frogs, animals, trees)
Animal soloists: Sarah van der Ploeg, soprano; Sarah Ponder, contralto; Thomas E. Dymit, tenor; Mathew Lake, bass-baritone
Anima–Young Singers of Greater Chicago (Bench, sofa, ottoman, wicker chair, numerical figures)
Originally recorded at concerts in May 2015
Ravel Pavane pour une infante défunte
Recorded by RCA on May 16, 1967, in Orchestra Hall
Ravel Alborada del gracioso
Recorded by RCA on April 11, 1968, in Orchestra Hall
Ravel Introduction and Allegro
Recorded by RCA on May 13, 1968, in Orchestra Hall
Jean Martinon, conductor
This program will be available until June 6, 2019.
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