09 September 2018

Everyone loves Bolero

Except musicians. And supposedly Ravel. It is involving but tedious. The basses play two notes then stand ready to miss the quick end. There's a joke on the Net that has the whole bass line (all 20 minutes or so) expressed in 2 bars. On the other hand, I still can't sing that oddly unexpected melody without a slipup. Even after hearing it numerous times. The CSO did it justice and I thought the alto sax soloist played it more convincingly than some others. He also played solos on Debussy Rhapsody for alto sax and orchestra and Milhaud Scaramouche suite. Apparently they are both standards of the alto classical repertoire (I guess it's not so big). He'd played the Debussy in various chamber combinations but never with a full orchestra. That was an interesting revelation. Then there was Copland Fanfare for the common man and the very substantial Berlioz Symphonie fantastique that was long, seemingly endless, with 6 movements. It seemed an odd piece to my ear and I was hugely surprised when Megan said it had been written just after Beethoven. So early; so inventive and different. And with some devilish playing requirements. The CSO did it with considerable panache. I was impressed. The latest in the CSO series.

Canberra Symphony Orchestra performed at Llewellyn under Nicholas Milton (conductor) with soloist Nick Russoniello (alto sax).

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