1912: Ravel: Daphnis et Chloe, age 37

Celibidache/MPO (live, 1987)

Suite No. 1:

  1. Nocturne 5:24 (0:00-5:24)
  2. Interlude 3:21 (5:24-8:45)
  3. Danse Guerrière 4:30 (8:45-13:15)

Total time: 13:15 – average time for other recordings is 11-12 minutes

Suite No. 2:

  1. Lever du Jour 6:12 (13:23-19:37)
  2. Pantomine 7:50 (19:37-27:27)
  3. Danse Générale 5:07 (27:27-32:34)

Total time: 19:09 – average time for other recordings is 15-16 minutes


  • 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:

The complete version seems to be what we would hear if we watched the whole ballet, and it’s 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 suites:

There are two. The 1st suite seems to have been pulled out of what Ravel thought was the best music of the first half of his whole ballet. It is somewhere around 11-12 minutes long in most recordings.

The 2nd suite is simply the last 16 minutes of the ballet, unchanged as far as I know. It is often performened without singers, but I prefer it with chorus.

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, age 37

  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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