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Celebrating two great French masters; Coffee break Preview BBC National Orchestra of Wales St David's Hall, Cardiff.

HARPIST Catrin Finch will join forces with theBBCNational Orchestra of Wales to mark this year's centenary of the birth of composer Olivier Messiaen.

The composer wrote music that was full of colour and born of profound Christian faith.

BBC Now will perform a programme of French music at St David's Hall in Cardiff featuring the powerful music of Messiaen and a composer he revered, Claude Debussy, as part of the centenary celebrations.

The orchestra will be joined by their principal conductor Thierry Fischer, who is a specialist in French music.

The concert on December 10 marks Messiaen's actual date of birth, and the orchestra will perform his first great orchestral piece L'Ascension which begins with a prayer from the world and ends with a slow ascension into the hereafter in a journey through four strongly characterised, diverse movements.

Messiaen's Trois Petites Liturgies de la Presence Divine, which is full of passion but with a deep religious foundation, will also be performed.

Completing the programme will be music by the French composer Debussy who helped define the music of the 20th century in terms of Impressionism.

His work La Damoiselle elue is a cantata based on the poem The Blessed Damozel by Dante Gabrielle Rossetti. Debussy's work will be performed by female members of the BBC National Chorus of Wales and BBC National Orchestra of Wales, who will be joined by two soloists - Sandrine Piau and Madeleine Shaw.

The piece is described as having "haunting beauty" and has been influenced by Hollywood film scores of the late '60s.

Debussy's Danse Sacree et Danse Profane is among the best-known and most frequently performed works for harp in the concert repertory.

During this concert Debussy's work will be performed by world-renowned harpist, Catrin Finch, the former royal harpist to the Prince of Wales who is preparing to launch a new album with the Universal label in January.

The BBC National Orchestra of Wales performs Messiaen at St David's Hall, Cardiff, on December 10 at 7pm. The box office number is 029 2087 8444
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Dec 5, 2008
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