“I have slandered the sea” wrote Claude Debussy. “Today it is beautiful enough to defy all comparisons”. Yet 100 years after his death in 1918, Debussy’s 'La Mer' is surely the most poetic seascape ever painted for an orchestra, the work of a composer whose quiet genius turned music into an art of limitless expressive subtlety. This centenary celebration opens with Nocturnes – Impressionist paintings, transformed into ravishing sound – and includes the 'Prélude' whose unprecedented sensuality scandalised Belle Époque Paris. But there’s darkness as well as light: Thomas Dausgaard joins Joaquín Achúcarro in the brooding concerto that Debussy’s compatriot Ravel created for a pianist who’d lost an arm in the Great War.
Prelude: 6.30pm in the Old Fruitmarket (please note the earlier than usual start time)
A performance of the music for Javanese gamelan that partly inspired Debussy in 1889 to write the 'Nocturnes'. Performed by Gamelan Naga Mas in collaboration with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (free to ticket-holders).
The main concert will be recorded for future broadcast on BBC Radio 3.