French writer Aloysius Bertrand’s Gaspard de la nuit is known especially for its macabre and grotesque nature, and similarities can be drawn between Bertrand and his American contemporary Edgar Allen Poe. Maurice Ravel was inspired by this collection of prose poetry enough to craft a three movement piano piece with the same name, stating, “My ambition is to say with notes what a poet expresses with words.”
It’s music that is perfect for our Halloween edition of Arizona Encore, and we’ll hear two of the movements from Ravel’s Gaspard – Ondine, the Water Spirit, and Scarbo, the Gremlin – with pianist Cathal Breslin performing from the ASU Katzin Concert Hall.
Also on this special Halloween program is Mars, the Bringer of War from The Planets by Gustav Holst. It’s music that takes the form of an aggressive, nearly unhinged sort of march, with its asymmetric time, noisy string sounds, and ferocious brass and percussion. And we’ll conclude with a chilling song cycle by Hector Berlioz called Summer Nights from the 2019 Tucson Desert Song Festival.
Featured in this episode:
Ravel - Gaspard de la nuit: Three Poems for Piano after Aloysius Bertrand - Cathal Breslin, piano
Holst - Mars, The Bringer of War from"The Planets" - The United States Army Field Band & Soldiers' Chorus; Colonel Jim Keene, commander
Berlioz - Les nuits d'été (Summer Nights) - Corinne Winters, soprano; Laurent Philippe, piano
II. Le spectre de la rose (The Ghost of a Rose)
III. Sur les lagunes (On the Lagoons)
V. Au cimetiére (At the Cemetery: Moonlight)
VI. L'î le inconnue (The Unknowable Isle)