Anything worth talking about, is worth blogging about

This is a good arrangement of the most famous duet in classical music. I really like it because it’s instrumental (and therefore non–sung, making it a billion times better than the sung version), because this number is one of my favourite pieces of classical music, and because I played the flute in school band.

If you cannot see the video, click here.

If you recognize the music, you’re in good company. “The Flower Duet”, also known as “Viens, Mallika” and “Sous le dôme épais“* has been used in gazillions of commercials to sell all sorts of different things.

And what’s with this number having all these titles, some of which look like French phrases?† Any what do I mean by being better because it is “non–sung”? To me, that raises an unsolvable issue with (some of the) classical music I like. I like lots of classical music, but I don’t like the singing that does with some parts of it. Basically, I don’t like the sound of the voices in that style of singing. In other words, I don’t like opera, cantatas, etc. The unsolvable problem is that several of my favourite pieces of classical music, happen to have singing in their “complete” versions. “The Flower Duet” comes from an opera and I like the music, so long as Lakmé and Mallika aren’t singing to it; I like playing the Queen of the Night’s vengeful call for murder on my flute, but not the Queen of the Night herself; “Sheep May Safely Graze” is Bach’s best work, so long as Pales isn’t singing in it; and so on. And sometimes it’s hard to find good–quality instrumental versions of such music, unless you play it yourself.

One last nitpick for the video: they spelt the composer’s name wrong. The correct spelling is Léo Delibes.

*If you read the piano–vocal score (pg 20, PDF, cookies required), you’ll find that the “real” title is merely “Duetto”. I know, works in classical music generally have unmemorable titles.

†They are French phrases; “Viens, Mallika” means “Come, Mallika”; and “Sous le dôme épais” means “Under the thick canopy”.

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