Classical concert, ask for the program!

The composition of a classical concert program is in many ways similar to that of a good meal. You need variety but not too much dispersion, light and more invigorating, salty and sweet, crispy and soft, spices but also sweetness…

The musical unfolding is also a witness of its time (like the food once again) and reading the programs in vogue in the 19th century does not cease to amaze the music lover of 2023: indigestion is not far away as the menu seems plentiful and heterogeneous. Thus, among many others, here is a most opulent session, given on December 18, 1881 at the Théâtre du château-d’eau, by the Orchester des Concerts Lamoureux under the baton of its founder Charles Lamoureux. To start the italian symphony by Mendelssohn, followed by two works by Charles Dancla (1817-1907), then an aria by The Magic Flute of Mozart preceding four excerpts from Mastersingers of Nuremberg of Wagner. The concert continued with a page from Samson by Haendel and, as an exit from the table, the Overture Michael Angelo by Niels Gade (1817-1890)!

Short forms and uninterrupted flow

Much closer to us, the health constraints linked to the Covid have reconditioned the concert: avoiding public entrances and exits and the excessive time spent in a room conducive to the dangerous sharing of the virus. Evenings without intermission then flourished, to the delight of many listeners. An hour and a half to two hours in one and the same musical flow, favoring an uninterrupted concentration of the musicians and the public, a new “dramaturgy”. Something to shake up the format that has become standard in the philharmonic halls, namely an opening followed by a page with a soloist and, after the intermission, a symphony devoting the sovereign orchestra and the charisma of the conductor. Despite recurring criticism of its repetitiveness and lack of imagination, this tried-and-tested canvas remains the majority, as evidenced by leafing through the brochures of the various cinemas, in France and elsewhere.

Known and rare

We salute all the more the originality and coherence of the anniversary evening of the Orchester Les Siècles, founded twenty years ago by conductor François-Xavier Roth. Afterwards, on September 30, a memorable triptych bringing together the scores written by Igor Stravinsky for the Ballets Russes (Fire Bird, Petrushka and The Rite of Spring), the musicians paid – on January 5 and 10 (1) – a tasty, balanced and flamboyant tribute to French music.

Three “musts” punctuated the building: the winding Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun by Claude Debussy to start, to finish The waltz of Maurice Ravel in vertiginous apotheosis, between the two The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Paul Ducas. Perhaps the acme of the concert, as the artists honored the humor and the vitality, the mystery and the breathtaking orchestration of this piece immortalized by the Disney studios in Fantasia. Reassured and delighted to find melodies that are familiar to him, the music lover tasted with the same greed three scores more rarely invited by symphonic formations. In the Orchestral suite number 1 taken by Édouard Lalo from his ballet NamunaLes Siècles displayed unfailing suppleness and energy, highlighting the cells repeated until drunkenness (in the Prelude for example) that a Phil Glass would not deny!

Individualities and collective momentum

Bacchus and Ariadne d’Albert Roussel lavished his tenderness and his brilliance, while the most anecdotal but delicious Alsatian scenes by Jules Massenet spared a moment of pure grace in the elegiac movement entitled under the lime trees.

Enveloped in delicate gauze, a cello-clarinet duet recalled what lyrical master was the composer of Wether and Manon. While the charm, sensitivity and understanding between the two instrumentalists confirmed, if need be, how much a flourishing orchestra knows how to reveal the talent of its individualities as well as the complicity of its collective.

Source : BBN NEWS

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