No. 96 is ‘Au fond du temple saint’. This hauntingly beautiful opera duet is sung by “Nadir” and “Zurga”, two pearl fishermen on the island of Ceylon. Their lifelong friendship was once threatened by their mutual love of a young priestess, but in this touching ode to their undying friendship they pledge to never let anything come between them again.
Au fond du temple saint (“The Pearlfishers Duet”)
by Georges Bizet (25 October 1838 – 3 June 1875)
A veiled Leila, the object of both Nadir and Zurga’s affection, arrives on stage.
Amadeus (1984) is available from Amazon.com. Click on image to purchase.
No. 97 is Mozart’s Requiem – Lacrimosa. Composed in Vienna in 1791, the Requiem has been featured on countless movie soundtracks. Lacrimosa is the 8th movement of the Requiem, and the most famous. Mozart died before finishing the Requiem at the young age of 35, and Franz Xaver Süssmayr completed and delivered the Requiem to Count Franz von Wasell. The Count had commissioned the piece for a requiem Mass to commemorate his wife’s death (which, incidentally, fell on Valentine’s Day – how tragic!). Count Franz von Wassell commissioned the extensive work anonymously,and it is likely that he intended to put his own name on it. Perhaps he would be a household name had he succeeded, but Mozart’s unexpected death and a benefit concert for his widow put a spanner in the works. In the critically acclaimed 1984 film adaptation of Peter Shaffer’s highly fictionalised stage play Amadeus, it is suggested that it was not Franz von Wassell but Salieri (the famous Italian composer of the Habsburg Court) who anonymously commissioned Mozart’s Requiem. If you haven’t seen it yet, Amadeus really is a first class film which is sure to ignite your passion for Mozart as it did mine.
Requiem – Lacrimosa
by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 1756 – 5 December 1791)
Sensual, rhythmic and emotionally stirring, No. 98 is Ravel’s Boléro, a famous one movement orchestral piece, originally commissioned as a ballet by a Russian ballerina (Ida Rubenstein). The video below is of Andre Rieu conducting Bolero at the Telstra Dome in Melbourne. Whilst Rieu has been criticised by some as being too ‘popular’, debussycat applauds him for bringing classical music to a wider audience.
No. 99 is Pomp & Circumstance, a triumphant march often heard at American graduation ceremonies. You’ll recognise it at 1:56. The title was actually taken from Act III, Scene iii of Shakespeare’s Othello:
Farewell the neighing steed and the shrill trump, The spirit-stirring drum, th’ear-piercing fife, The royal banner, and all quality, Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war!”
Beginning with No. 100, debussycat takes you through 100 popular classical hits. Our very first piece is an all time Debussy favourite, and the rendition below by German pianist Walter Gieseking is one of the very finest. Gieseking was widely respected for his interpretation and execution of Debussy.