Compact Discoveries®
a series of one-hour radio programs produced, written, hosted, and edited by Fred Flaxman
©2008 by Fred Flaxman

Program 148
"Classical Reveries"

Debussy: Rêverie performed by pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet [London 452 022-2, track 18] [4:17] [under the following]

Hello and welcome to Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman.

I previously devoted an hour of Compact Discoveries to music inspired by dreams. This hour will feature music inspired by reveries. Do you know what the difference is between a dream and a reverie? Dreams happen when you are asleep; reveries when you are awake. They are about the same as day dreams. Perhaps less clear and more cloudy.

Over the centuries, composers have been inspired to write music by dreams and by reveries. Over the next hour we’ll experience some of these reveries.

We’ll listen to music by Debussy, Tchaikovsky, Schütt, Rubinstein, Moszkowski, Mason, Leoncavallo, and Hill. So stay tuned and day-dream along with the classics!

In the background right now is arguably the most famous reverie ever written: a piano piece by that name by the French impressionist composer, Claude Debussy. It is being performed by pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet. I’ll bet you can guess his nationality.

MUSIC: finishes

Pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet performed Claude Debussy’s famous Rêverie. This was a London compact disc recording. Next let’s play... “Name That Tune!”

Debussy: Rêverie performed by Julian Cawdrey, flute; Pierre-Michel Vigneau, harp; and Roland Cheney, viola [Pavane Records ADW 7383 419 176-2, track 11]

MUSIC: Debussy: Rêverie performed by Yolanda Kondonassis, harp [Telarc CD-80622, track 4] [4:05]

Two transcriptions of Debussy’s Rêverie. The first was for flute, harp and viola, performed by Julian Cawdrey, Pierre-Michel Vigneau and Roland Cheney on a Pavane compact disc. The second was by harpist Yolanda Kondonassis on a Telarc CD.

Next let’s hear Tchaikovsky’s day-dream. He called it Rêverie interrompue and it was originally written for piano, just like Debussy’s piece. But we hear it now as arranged for violin and orchestra by Peter Breiner, who conducts the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in this Naxos recording. The solo violinist is Takako Nishizaki.

MUSIC: Tchaikovsky (arr., Breiner): Rêverie interrompue, performed by Takako Nishizaki, violin, with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra conducted by Peter Breiner [Naxos 8.553510, track 17] [4:27]

Tchaikovsky’s Rêverie interrompue as performed by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra conducted by Peter Breiner. The violin soloist was Takako Nishizaki.

Most reveries seem to have been composed originally for piano. Next let’s listen to a particularly beautiful example by a composer you probably never heard of before. His name is Eduard Schütt and he lived from 1856 until 1933. Although his first name is French and his last name, German, he was, in fact, Russian. Here’s his Rêverie as performed by Robert Silverman on a Marquis CD from Canada.

MUSIC: Schütt: Rêverie performed by pianist Robert Silverman [Marquis 77471 82501 2 4, track 5] [3:37]

Robert Silverman played Rêverie by Eduard Schütt.

You are listening to Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman, and this hour is devoted to “Classical Reveries.”

[optional one-minute break not included in total timing]

Two more very beautiful piano reveries now. The first by Anton Rubinstein as performed by Joseph Banowetz on a Marco Polo compact disc, the second by Moritz Moszkowski as performed by Seta Tanyel on a Helios CD.

MUSIC: Rubinstein: Rêverie in D Minor performed by Joseph Banowetz [Marco Polo 8.223176, track 5] [5:42]

MUSIC: Moszkowski: Rêverie performed by Seta Tanyel [Helios CDH55141, track 4] [2:14]

Piano reveries by Anton Rubinstein and Moritz Moszkowski. The first was performed by Joseph Banowetz; the second by Seta Tanyel.

Australian-born composer Alfred Hill’s A Rêverie is as short as a piano piece, but it was written for symphonic orchestra. We’ll hear it now as performed by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra conducted by Wilfred Lehmann on a Marco Polo compact disc.

MUSIC: Hill: A Rêverie performed by the Queensland SYmphony Orchestra, Wilfred Lehmann conducting [Marco Polo 8.223538, track 6] [3:42]

Alfred Hill’s A Rêverie. Wilfred Lehmann conducted the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.

The American composer, William Mason, who lived from 1829 until 1908, wrote a piano piece called Rêverie Poétique. Like other American musical compositions of this period, it’s very European, but also very pretty. Here it is played by Seattle, Washington, native Kenneth Boulton on a Naxos release.

MUSIC: Mason: Rêverie Poétique, Op. 24 played by pianist Kenneth Boulton [Naxos 8.559142, track 3] [6:26]

William Mason’s Rêverie Poétique played by Kenneth Boulton.

Italian composer Ruggero Leoncavallo, who lived from 1857 until 1919, was, it seems to me, a one-hit composer, that hit being his opera I Pagliacci. But he also wrote piano music, including Au bord du lac (“By the Lake”). This was subtitled “a reverie for solo piano.” Marco Sollini is the soloist in this Bongiovanni recording from Bologna, Italy.

MUSIC: Leoncavallo: Au bord du lac: rêverie pour piano solo performed by Marco Sollini, pianist [Bongiovanni GB 5578-2, track 8] [3:31]

Ruggero Leoncavallo’s Au bord du lac (By the Lake): reverie for solo piano. The pianist was Marco Sollini.

Hector Berlioz was certainly not known for his solo piano music, but he did write a Rêverie and Caprice. It was scored for violin and orchestra. In this Analekta recording from Canada, the violinist is James Ehnes. The Orchestre Symphonique de Québec is conducted by Yoav Talmi.

MUSIC: Berlioz: Rêverie et Caprice, The Orchestre symphonique de Québec; Yoav Talmi, conductor; James Ehnes, violin [Analekta FL 2 3151, track 4] [8:29]

Rêverie and Caprice by Hector Berlioz. The Orchestre Symphonique de Québec was conducted by Yoav Talmi. James Ehnes was the violinist.

And that brings this hour of Compact Discoveries to a close. I hope you enjoyed “Classical Reveries.” If you missed any of this hour or would like to hear it again, go to on the internet where you’ll find links to stream most Compact Discoveries programs on demand without charge. Look for program number 148. At the web site you’ll also find scripts for every Compact Discoveries program with complete information on every selection. There are articles there as well, listener reaction, and a list of stations broadcasting the programs.

This is Fred Flaxman thanking you for listening.

MUSIC: Debussy: Rêverie performed by pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet [London 452 022-2, track 18] [fades out at 56:40]

ANNOUNCER [Steve Jencks]: Compact Discoveries is a production of Compact Discoveries, Incorporated, a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization located at 36 Pickens Lane in Weaverville, North Carolina, and on the web at These programs are distributed to public radio stations nationwide through PRX, the Public Radio Exchange.

Program Ends at 57:00

  ©2008 Compact Discoveries