1 October 2019

One for my mates

This was one for my mates in Maruki and NCO. We went to the RadioFrance Auditiorium to hear the Orchestra National de France playing Rach 2. It was blissful. The theatre is a gem, obviously with great acoustics, this being the main space for a national radio broadcaster that regularly records concerts, but also intimate and comfy and close and with a large workable stage centrally located. The orchestra is full sized (8 basses, 14 first violins scaling down), the sound was clear and the basses prominent. But it was the performance, the rich dynamics that didn’t hit but puff and billow gently around you, the tempos that laid up like a rolling ball slowing to the top of a hill and falling, speeding on the other side, all with a softness and gentility that spoke romantic. Such a lovely rendition. Of course, we’ve played it twice and that is the best preparation for insinuating every line and twist. That helped. I certainly didn’t have the same pleasure from the first half, Puccini Symphonic prelude and Samuel Barber violin concerto. The playing seemed as capable, sweet, clear, neat on the most challenging passages on the Barber, and the violinist up front, quick with flashing bow and neat rising lines into the harmonics. Megan knew these and was impressed. He encored with something we didn’t recognise, more modern, more subdued and with interesting harmonic twists. But acquaintance lends love and the Rach 2 was my huge pleasure of the night. To play like that!

The Orchestre National de France under Juraj Vulčuha (conductor) and soloist Valeriy Sokolov (violin) and Sarah Nemtanu (concertmaster) performed Puccini, Barber and Rachmaninov Sumphony no.2 at the RadioFrance Auditorium in Paris.

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