Friday, September 27, 2013

Montage # 124 – Sheherazade



As of October 18, 2013, this montage will no longer be available on Pod-O-Matic. It can be heard or downloaded from the Internet Archive at the following address / A compter du 18 octobre 2013, ce montage ne sera plus disponible en baladodiffusion Pod-O-Matic. Il peut être téléchargé ou entendu au site Internet Archive à l'adresse suivante:

https://archive.org/details/Pcast124


pcast124- Playlist

===================================================================== English Commentary – le commentaire français suit

Today’s podcast explores three works, who share a common story line – the Persian and Arabian legend of the Thousand and one nights, and in particular the Persian Queen that narrates the many stories, Scheherazade.

The story goes that every day Shahryar (The King in Persian) would marry a new virgin, and every day he would send yesterday's wife to be beheaded. He had killed 1,000 such women by the time he was introduced to Scheherazade, the vizier's daughter.

According to English geographer and translator Sir Richard Burton, Scheherazade was described in this way:

"[Scheherazade] had perused the books, annals and legends of preceding Kings, and the stories, examples and instances of bygone men and things; indeed it was said that she had collected a thousand books of histories relating to antique races and departed rulers. She had perused the works of the poets and knew them by heart; she had studied philosophy and the sciences, arts and accomplishments; and she was pleasant and polite, wise and witty, well read and well bred."

Against her father's wishes, Scheherazade volunteered to spend one night with the King. Once in the King's chambers, Scheherazade asked if she might bid one last farewell to her beloved sister, Dinazade, and began telling her a story. The King lay awake and listened with awe as Scheherazade told her first story. The night passed by, and Scheherazade stopped in the middle of the story. The King asked her to finish, but Scheherazade said there was not time, as dawn was breaking. So, the King spared her life for one day to finish the story the next night. So the next night, Scheherazade finished the story, and then began a second, even more exciting tale which she again stopped halfway through, at dawn. So the King again spared her life for one day to finish the second story. And so on…

The King kept Scheherazade alive day by day, as he eagerly anticipated the finishing of last night's story. At the end of 1,001 nights, and 1,000 stories, Scheherazade told the King that she had no more tales to tell him. During these 1,001 nights, the King had fallen in love with Scheherazade, and had three sons with her. So, having been made a wiser and kinder man by Scheherazade and her tales, he spared her life, and made her his Queen.

Scheherazade and the stories from the Thousand and one nights have been a source of inspiration of many musical works, including operas by Weber and Cherubini, and an Aladdin Suite by Carl Nielsen.




The three works I chose capture different aspects of Scheherazade – Ravel’s early overure (ouverture de féérie or fairy tale overture) captures the magic and “fairy dust” we freely associate with story telling and great fantasies. The song cycle that Ravel worte 15 years later, however, presents Scheherazade under a different light – exotic, mysterious and enchanting.

The more famous suite by Rimsky-Korsakov is more aligned with the story-teller. The leitmotiv that represents Scheherazade (heard played by solo violin) morphs as stories of Sinbad the Sailor and the Story of the First Kalendar get rendered by the orchestra. The culminating movement, depict a feast day in Baghdad and Sinbad's ship (6th voyage) is depicted as rushing rapidly toward cliffs and only the fortuitous discovery of the cavernous stream allows him to escape and make the passage to Serindib.


I think you will love this music too.

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Commentaire français

Pour mettr fin à notre série « S » por « septembre », je vous propose trois œuvres qui s’inspirent des Mille et une nuits, et de la narratrice au centre de cette légende du Moyen-Orient, Schéhérazade.

Le roi de Perse, Shahryar, fait exécuter sa femme pour cause d'adultère. Prétendant que toutes les femmes sont perfides, il décide d'épouser chaque jour une vierge qu'il fait exécuter au matin de la nuit de noces pour se venger. Shéhérazade, fille aînée du grand vizir, se porte alors volontaire pour faire cesser le massacre, et met au point un stratagème.

Après son mariage, le soir venu, elle raconte une histoire palpitante au sultan sans la terminer. Son époux veut alors tellement connaître la suite qu'il lui laisse la vie sauve pour une journée de plus. Ce stratagème dura pendant mille et une nuits au bout desquelles le sultan abandonne sa résolution et décide de garder Shéhérazade auprès de lui pour toujours.

Les récits et les personnages qui forment les Mille et une Nuits font l’objet d’un grand nombre d’œuvres, que ce soient des pièces de théâtre, des films ou même des opéras et des œuvres de concert. On n’a qu’à penser, par exemple Aladdin de Nielsen. ou au Caliphe de Baghdad de Boildieu, Mais les trois sélections du montage d’aujourd’hui sont sans doute les plus connues – ou, diu moins, deux des trois.




Maurice Ravel composera deux pièces inspirées par la célèbre narratrice. Son ouverture de féérie, tôt en carrière, explore l’aspect magique et fantastique du mythe de Schéhérazade. Ses trois chansons, composées une quinzaine d’années plus tard, offrent un pointt de vue différent, esxploranty l’aspect exotique, lointain etpar moments fatidique de la légende.

La longue suite symphonique de Rimski-Korsakov aborde le sujet sans prétention. Le leitmotiv introduit par le violon-solo représente la narratrice, et chaque mouvement l’un des mille et uns récits, s’attardant particulièrement aux aventures du marin Sinbad, et de son périple dans des mers dangereuses qui occupe le mouvement final.


Bonne écoute!