15 Sep 2018

DEBUSSY: Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune

From Music Alive, 7:30 pm on 15 September 2018

Poet Stéphane Mallarmé published his Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune in 1876.  Its sumptuous but fragmentary language reflects the erotic fantasies of a drowsy faun - a mythical half-man/half-goat - on a hot Sicilian afternoon.

Claude Debussy ca 1908

Claude Debussy ca 1908 Photo: Public domain

New Zealand Symphony Orchestra conducted by Hamish McKeich

Running like a thread through the poem's imagery of fruit and flowers and naked nymphs are references to music, specifically the syrinx, or pan-pipes. One of these references inspired Debussy and when he invited Mallarmé to hear his work in 1894, he described 'the arabesque which ... I believe to have been dictated by the flute of your faun.'

Recorded 15 September 2018, Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington by RNZ Concert

Producer: David McCaw

Engineer: Graham Kennedy