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The first work, Alborada del gracioso means "The Jester's Morning Song". It is an orchestration made by Ravel himself, of one of the five piano pieces entitled Miroirs (Speil, 1905). These pieces were for people in the "Apasjene" circle of friends, where Ravel was the centrepiece. In Alborada del gracioso, a small scene is illustrated with fine shades of colour: The Jester (or Harlequin) starts over and over with his song. When he finally succeeds, his joy knows no bounds. Pizzicati imitate guitar strumming, castanets set their rhythmic accents. The languishing wisdom of the worshiper unfolds particularly beautifully in the bass clarinet. Glissando in trumpets, tongue thrusts, booming timpani and glaring dissonances intervene disturbingly. Finally, we hear a dance with schwung.

The full title of Shéhérazade (1903) reads Shéhérazade. Trois Poèmes pour chant et orchestre sur des vers de Tristan Klingson. (Three poems for song and orchestra after verses by Tristan Klingsor). Shéhérazade is the heroine of One Thousand and One Nights. Ravel's (and Debussy's) enthusiasm for the Orient has to do with the World Exhibition in 1889 and 1900. Of the three songs, "Asie" (Asia) is the longest. "Asie, Asie, Asie" reads this first song. It is a kind of sudden scream that the orchestra continues with fff. Ravel experiments here with how the words "amour" (love) and "haine" (hate) are conveyed through the music. The next pieces, "The Magic Flute" and "The Indifferent", adhere to the same principles as in the first: Stressed syllables are, so to speak, not prolonged, and punctuated rhythms, which the French Wagnerians loved, are, so to speak, gone. Instead, we hear barely noticeable transitions between different intervals.

Daphnis et Chloé was performed by the Russian Ballet in Paris in 1912, and Daphnis was danced by the famous Vatslav Nijinsky. The ballet is based on a pastoral novel by Longos of Lesbos (3rd century AD), loosely based on Greek myths. Ravel himself says of the ballet that he wanted to create "a kind of large musical fresco", not to be faithful to the Greco-archaic, but more to his dreams of Greece. For concert use, Ravel composed two suites containing six tableaus: Shepherds, pirates, and the love story of the immortal couple. Everything happens with flickering strings, glissandi in the harps, silvery light from the celesta, buzzing from the muted horns and a subsequent beautiful, saturated cello melody (Daphnis). And then, a garland of flutes that eventually unfolds like a song (Chloé), the two themes are united, whereupon a wind seems to carry the song away. This is orchestral artistry at its highest potential!

Maurice Ravel:
Alborada del Gracioso
Daphnis and Chloe

Andris Poga, conductor
Karine Deshayes, mezzo-soprano

Stavanger Symphony Chorus

About. 1 hour and 30 minutes, including a break

Stavanger Symphony Orchestra


March 09:


  • Sandvika 1
  • 4007


Beer & wine:
Fully licensed:
Food available:

Where is SSO Hovedserien: Fairytale-like evening with Ravel?

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