1912: Ravel: Daphnis et Chloe

TUESDAY, November 3, 2020 – 12:02 PM

Daphnis et Chloe, age 37

(First of all, although this whole thing is around an hour long, I’ve listened to it twice all the way through, and I would say it’s a difficult experience. It probably works better with dancers, where there is more to take in. The last 16 minutes or so was later chosen by Ravel for his Suite No. 2, and that’s what I would recommend to focus on. So by all means listen to the complete version, but likely you will want to start at the time stamps I marked. The version without singers is very good, but I prefer it with chorus.)


  • piccolo, 2 flutes, alto flute, 2 oboes, 1 cor anglais,  Eb clarinet, 2 Bb clarinets, bass clarinet, 3 bassoons, contrabassoon
  • 4 horns, 4 trumpets in C, 3 trombones, tuba
  • timpani., snare drum, castanets, crotales, cymbals, wind machine, bass drum, field drum, tambourine, tam-tam, triangle, celesta, glockenspiel, xylophone
  • 2 harps
  • strings
  • Wordless SATB choir offstage.

The complete version,  but using a time stamp for what became Suite No. 2

Bernard Haitink

There is a “Suite” that is very popular, and that is Suite No. 2. But what is the difference between that and this complete version if we start at the right place? To my ear there is none, so I believe Ravel just took what might be called the last 3rd of his score and then presented it as a stand-alone composition. You will hear it in concerts without the chorus, but it’s much more impressive with voices, so here it. All you need is the complete version with a time stamp.

The complete version starting at the beginning.

Bernard Haitink

If I have time, this is what I want to hear, but it’s almost four times as long.

No the real Suite No. 2, no chorus

Simon Rattle

This is what I grew up with from a recording. To me this versions is exactly the same thing as the complete version if you start at the right time stamp, about 16 minutes from the end. This has no chorus. This is an excellent performance. In general I’m interested in the complete version, with the chorus, but I’d like to find a better chorus.

Famous for 108 years…

Daphnis et Chloé is a ballet, but most of the time you will hear this as pure music. It’s been extremely popular since it’s premiere.

7 thoughts on “1912: Ravel: Daphnis et Chloe

  1. Since I planned to take a long walk, I opted for the long version. The only thing about length is that the walk was too short. Am still listening. Mental note: “soundscape” and “the cat” – the constantly varying soundscape, like a mix of colours and textures for the senses, varying emotions – yet continually held together making sense – you can’t get enough of it. About the cat: early on I saw a cat sliding down a sloping banister and landing with a protesting rise-in-pitch “Meow!” And what fun it would be take up that instrument, and be that cat in sound. On violin, just glide your hand down the string and let loose. Whee. Maybe playing music can be that simple.

  2. As Rattle conducted I listened to the incredible orchestra playing Ravel’s wonderful music. I was able to close my eyes and forget about all that is happening in the world. For a short time I was transported to a beautiful, peaceful place.

  3. The spirit of these guys lived on in Jerry Goldsmith, and breathes still in John Williams and his re-incarnation Michael Giacchino.

    This is mad, beautiful music. But for the orderly brain of the classical, I can see how this is heresy.

    So.. burn me at the stake! I really do love this music, and the art from the era too. Renoir, Picasso, etc.

    1. Ravel was actually pretty well accepted. Even he had to buck the establishment, which was really entrenched in France, but Debussy was the one who had an uphill battle re traditionalists.

    1. I think most people enjoy engaging as many senses as possible. Sometimes I enjoy just listening to the music, and even watching people play is distracting. Other times I really enjoy watching people. For me it’s dependent on my mood.

      1. I’m listening while taking walks so it’s my ears I engage. If the music is part of a performance, such as an opera or ballet, where the senses are meant to work together – if it’s well crafted – then I might want to look as well as listen. But even then, I might want to only listen, at least once.

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