Debussy and Lalo, Greece and Spain

Enter the musical world of mid 19th century Paris - music by Debussy and Lalo (May 2015)

This month’s podcast delves into the fascinating world of composition in Paris in the mid 19th century.  Richard Langham Smith is a research professor at the Royal College of Music, and one of the world’s experts in Debussy and 19th and 20th century French music.   He gave this illuminating talk before a LPO concert featuring Debussy’s Prelude a l’après midi d’un faun, and Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole, and put the two compositions into their historical context.   The Lalo is an example of the influence of the Spanish musicians who had fled to Paris in the aftermath of the Napoleonic wars, and was the first work to bring Spain into orchestral world. Debussy was himself influenced by Lalo, but in his Prelude he conjures up an imagined ancient Greece, complete with panpipes and hunting horns.   

Featured recording:
Beethoven Symphony No. 6.  Live recording from 1992 conducted by Klaus Tennstedt

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