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Our Classical Century continues with Birtwistle's Panic, written for the Proms in 1995, a work taking its inspiration from the Classical god Pan.

Our Classical Century continues with Birtwistle's 'Panic' written for the Last Night of the Proms in 1995. A work taking its inspiration from the Classical god 'Pan' and the worship of Dionysus. The followers of Dionysus were particularly known for their religious rites fuelled by plenty of wine and debauchery that have come down to us across the ages with the title 'Bacchanales' (after 'Bacchus' the Roman version of Dionysus). These would reach a level of intoxication and emotional excess approaching ecstasy and even terror.

There was also a calmer, more reflective side to Pan as he is often depicted with his 'Pan Pipes', made from the transfigured 'Syrinx' according to Ovid's Metamorphoses.

So in tonight's MixTape we have both aspects, Debussy looking for Syrinx with piano and solo flute and the others choosing the more energetic path, whether it's Nielsen, Saint-Saëns or Jaques Ibert, all begun by Harrison Birtwistle's 'Panic'.

30 minutes

Music Played

  • Sir Harrison Birtwistle


    Performer: John Harle. Performer: Paul Clarvis. Orchestra: BBC Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Sir Andrew Davis.
    • ARGO.
  • Rutland Boughton

    String Quartet in A major 'On Greek Folk Songs' (Dionysian)

    Performer: Sarah Francis. Performer: Frances Mason. Performer: Marilyn Taylor. Performer: Christopher Wellington. Performer: Joy Hay. Ensemble: Rasumovsky Quartet.
    • Rutland Boughton String Quartets: Sarah Francis.
    • Hyperion.
    • 9.
  • Claude Debussy

    Pour invoquer Pan, dieu du vent d'été (Six Epigraphes antiques, No 1)

    Performer: Katia Labèque. Performer: Marielle Labèque.
    • DG.
  • Claude Debussy


    Performer: Emmanuel Pahud.
    • Debussy: Syrinx - Ravel: Chansons Madecasses - Prokofiev: Flute Sonata, Pahud.
    • EMI.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Zu Tanze, zu Sprunge, so wackelt das Herz (Contest of Phoebus and Pan, BWV201)

    Singer: Donald Bentvelsen. Orchestra: Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra. Conductor: Ton Koopman.
    • Bach: Complete Cantatas Vol. 4.
    • ERATO.
    • 15.
  • Carl Nielsen

    Pan and Syrinx

    Performer: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Sir Simon Rattle.
  • Camille Saint‐Saëns

    Bacchanale (Samson et Dalila)

    Conductor: Daniel Barenboim. Orchestra: Orchestre de Paris.
    • Saint-Saens: Organ Symphony/Danse Macabre: Barenboim.
    • Deutsche Grammophon.
    • 4.
  • Jacques Ibert


    Orchestra: Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. Conductor: Neeme Järvi.
    • CHANDOS.


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