Rare Faure and Delius on Symphony @ 7

We begin this week on Symphony @ 7 with not-often heard music from two composers, one French and one English, whose lives spanned the 19th and 20th centuries, Gabriel Faure and Frederick Delius.

Emeralds is a half hour suite of orchestral music by Faure that was used in the first section of the 1967 ballet Jewels by George Balanchine.  Jewels has been called the first entirely abstract full-length ballet.  It has no story or plot, and the dancers are dressed as jewels.  The second section of the ballet, Rubies, uses music of Stravinsky, and the final part, Diamonds, has music by Tchaikovsky.

Gabriel Faure’s music for Emeralds, which is mostly soft and gentle, consists of selections from his 1898 suite of incidental music for the symbolist play Pelleas and Melisande by Maurice Maeterlinck, and earlier music from Shylock from 1889.  Shylock is a comedy by Edmond Haraucourt based on Shakespeare, for which Faure composed incidental music.

Frederick Delius was inspired by a short story of Swiss writer Gottfried Keller, Romeo und Julia auf dem Dorfe, to write his opera, A Village Romeo and Juliet, which premiered in Berlin in1907 and in England three years later at Covent Garden.  Delius and his wife wrote the English language libretto for this ultimately sad story of “a pair of star-crossed lovers” who take their own lives.  The opera is not staged often, but the orchestral interlude, The Walk to the Paradise Garden, is often heard on its own in recordings and sometimes in concert.

This evening on Symphony @ 7, we’ll have a twenty-six minute suite of music drawn from the opera A Village Romeo and Juliet and Emeralds  from the ballet Jewels with music of Gabriel Faure.  Join me for an hour of musical rarities here on Classical 101.

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