Debussy’s seductive painting of a languid, sun-drenched Sicilian afternoon marked a turning point in musical history, with its tenuous grasp of tonality and harmony. It weaves a tantalising veil of hypnotic colours and textures. Bizet’s polished gem of a symphony is remarkable not so much for its originality, but for its skilful reworking of others’ designs – a brilliant work that shows a grasp of unity and overall design that was remarkable for a seventeen-year old composer. Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker has charmed audiences over the years. From the elegant Waltz of the Flowers to the witty Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Dance of the Reed Flutes, the music tinkles in the memory like a lost music box.

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Works and composers

Debussy Prelude à L’après-midi d’un faune
Bizet Symphony in C
Tchaikovsky The Nutcracker (Act Two)