Cello Concerto in E minor Opus 85 (3) Edward Elgar Download 'Cello Concerto in E minor Opus 85 (3)' on iTunes
The French landscape, towns and cities have entranced composers and inspired them to create superb classical works. To mark the Classic FM Full Works Concert's French Week, here is our own tour of the best French views and the music they inspired.
Languedoc is now part of the modern-day regions of Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées in the south of France. Composer Déodat de Séverac was profoundly influenced by the musical tradition of his native region. His vocal and choral music often includes settings of verse in Provençal - the historic language of Languedoc - and Catalan.
Artists have been painting in Provence since prehistoric times. In the 19th and 20th centuries, many of the most famous painters in the world converged on the region, drawn by the climate and the clarity of the light. Milhaud's eight-movement suite captures the lively spirit of the place.
Occitan, the historical language spoken in Auvergne in south central France, inspired the composer Canteloube to write his well-loved Songs of the Auvergne for soprano and orchestra. The best known is the "Baïlèro", which has been frequently recorded.
Arles in the south of France was home to painter Vincent van Gogh, who produced more than 300 paintings and drawings here. Bizet wrote the incidental music to Daudet's play L'Arlésienne ('The Girl from Arles'), including several folk-like themes and three existing tunes from a folk-music collection published by Vidal of Aix in 1864.
Douarnenez bay, in Brittany in north-western France, is the supposed location for the mythological sunken city of Ys. The story inspired Debussy's piano prelude, evoking a mysterious, ruined cathedral, submerged under the sea. The story of doomed lovers Tristan and Isolde is also set in the area.
Paris's Latin Quarter, on the left bank of the Seine, provides the impoverished setting for Puccini's saga of young Bohemians struggling to make ends meet and stay alive. The opera's second act is set at the Quarter's Café Momus on Christmas Eve.
Gounod spent three months in Provence visiting the sites of the action for his opera and meeting the Occitan poet Mistral who wrote the original verse on which it is based. Presenting class differences in a rural setting was not usual at the time and the opera is a rich showcase for Provençal traditions, beliefs and customs. Gounod was treated to a banquet by the townspeople of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence.
The fishing village of Trouville, in the Basse-Normandie region in northwestern France, is a popular tourist spot. Poulenc wrote his 'Bather of Trouville' as part of a ballet project with his colleagues in 'Les Six' group of composers. The ballet depicts all the different characters in a wedding party, gathered on the Eiffel Tower.
In Puccini's touching opera, a young couple elope from Paris to live quietly in love on the Riviera. Unfortunately, being opera, we know it can't work - and not even the climate can keep Magda from returning to her former life as a courtesan.
Inspired by a Corsican girl he met while holidaying on the French-owned island in the Mediterranean, British light music composer Trevor Duncan wrote this wistful piece. Duncan's success in composing enabled him to give up the day job as a radio sound engineer.