10/07/2008

Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun

Commonly known by its French title Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faun, this piece was composed by the French composer Claude Debussy & is one of his most famous works to date. I truly enjoy listening to this piece; the opening flute solo that chromatically descends & then rises to welcome the other instruments into the fray is characteristic of this piece. I quote Debussy himself:

The music of this prelude is a very free illustration of Mallarmé's beautiful poem. By no means does it claim to be a synthesis of it. Rather there is a succession of scenes through which pass the desires and dreams of the faun in the heat of the afternoon. Then, tired of pursuing the timorous flight of nymphs and naiads, he succumbs to intoxicating sleep, in which he can finally realize his dreams of possession in universal Nature.

This piece was inspired by the poem L'Après-midi d'un faune by Stéphane Mallarmé; it really shimmers with rich tones of the woodwinds, smooth layers of melodies from the strings & other instruments. A notable exclusion is that of the trumpets, trombones & timpani. A soothing piece, perfect for a relaxing sunny afternoon. 

You may check out the free recording by the Columbia University Orchestra, very well-played & orchestrated ;)

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