On those rare afternoons when Mrs Crotchety is out and I have nothing particular to do I like to listen to the Radcliffe and Maconie show on BBC 6 Music. Last Monday Stuart Maconie was presenting solo and in amongst the usual rock and indie tracks he played something by Debussy called Danses Sacrée et Profane. It’s a quiet, contemplative piece for harp and string orchestra. I found it soothing, calming, relaxing, like something you’d hear in a New Age incense-and-trinkets shop but with rather more depth and substance.
Stuart had included Danses Sacrée because the BBC was promoting its coverage of The Proms, a series of popular classical concerts held in London’s Albert Hall in August every year. I hadn’t heard this work before but it made a pleasant 10 minute interlude to accompany my afternoon cup of tea. Those two short early twentieth century dances sat surprisingly comfortably between the half-spoken, bass-heavy Sorry My Love, It’s You Not Me by Ghostpoet and the driving beat of The Ground Walks With Time In A Box by Modest Mouse. Only the BBC’s 6 Music radio station would run that improbable sequence.
So, three cheers for the BBC, for 6 Music and for Debussy’s Danses Sacrée et Profane, which is my Track of the Week.
P.S. The link I’ve given here is to a YouTube video of Anneleen Lanaerts and the Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Michel Tabachnik. There’s also a version by the US Marine Band that is available for streaming and download under a Creative Commons 3.0 licence. The free one suffers from a little background noise, though.
P.P.S. The picture is of the Welsh harpist and composer Catrin Finch taken from a web page about the Wales International Harp Festival in 2014.