Thursday, 3 May 2012

Syrinx

As part of my work, I'm currently trying to make a list for my own use of  pieces of classical music that might kindle the interest of young people in the genre. This is one I'm certainly putting on it.

Claude Debussy wrote Syrinx for solo flute in 1913. The original Syrinx, for anyone who doesn't know, was a nymph in classical mythology.Pursued by the amorous god Pan, she found herself on a riverbank. She asked for the assistance of the river nymphs, who obliged by turning her into hollow reeds that made a haunting sound when the breath of the frustrated god blew across them...

5 comments:

Elisabeth said...

The story that accompanies this music title is so lovely, the idea of the nymph turned into a hollow, the nymph reed whose presence is evoked every time one blows through the reed is magical.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Yes, I love this piece too. I think your father would have loved to play it well in his flute playing days - but it always defeated him.

Rachel Fenton said...

This particular recording of it is so atmospheric - imagining it as the accompanyment to an otherwise silent film - think wavy hair and dark lips, grainy imagery and 20s style nymphs moving to fast...

A Cuban In London said...

Wonderful historical and mythological background you gave us there. I was familiar with the tale, but was not unaware that it had been the motivation for Debussy to compose such a sublime piece of music. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Dominic Rivron said...

Thanks for these comments.

E: It certainly is. And music itself relies for itself on a magical quality. This piece sort of multiplies the magical qualities it embodies - "myth magic" x "music magic" - Syrinx.

WG: And I have memories (reliable?) of Ben Edwards playing it a lot.

RF: Thanks for saying that! I spent a frustrating length of time trawling Youtube for the version I liked most. It's true of all music but it's especially so of Debussy: I think playing his music well involves so much more than turning the little black blobs into noise.

ACIL: You don't need me to say it would make a great dance: it must have been done.