The French conductor, whose Daphnis is our Recording of the Month, explains how symphonic music serves the dance.

Do you remember your first encounter with the score of Daphnis et Chloéand your reaction at the time?

Yes, I remember precisely when I heard Daphnis et Chloéfor the first time. I was a teenager, something like 13 years old. It was only the Suite No 2 with a recording by Charles Munch and I was very impressed and very moved by this music. I was really fascinated.

Where do you rank Daphnis et Chloéamong the work of the Ballets Russes and among Ravel’s work as a composer?

When we look at the whole Ballets Russes production, the premieres that Diaghilev organised, Daphnis et Chloémay be the one the most attended, the most expected. It is nothing to do with an academic style but it is really a master ballet in the tradition of the French ballet. It is maybe musically one of the biggest French ballets ever written. So it is exceptionally big with amazing forces. For Ravel itself, it is with no doubt his big orchestral work – the longest and the most developed.

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