Ravel's Boléro and other French Orchestral Favorites
The next stop on the Wilmington Symphony's "Passport to the World," concert season is on Saturday, October 20th at 8:00 p.m. in Kenan Auditorium when the Orchestra transports the audience to Paris for an evening of French orchestral favorites from two centuries.
The richly varied program begins with Baroque composer Jean-Phillippe Rameau's Les Indes Galantes before traveling forward in time for Emmanuel Chabrier's 1888 Suite Pastorale and Claude Debussy's Premiere Rhapsodie for Clarinet from 1910, one of the most beautiful works in the clarinet repertoire. Maurice Ravel's sensational Boléro!concludes this perfect "10" of a concert, that also features Wilmington native Mike Waddell as clarinet soloist.
Boléro is Maurice Ravel's most famous musical composition and was originally composed in 1928 as a ballet commission. The U.S. premiere of "Bolero" the following year with the New York Philharmonic was a great success, bringing "shouts and cheers from the audience" according to a New York Times review, leadig one critic to claim that Philharmonic conductor Arturo Toscanini had made Ravel into "almost an American national hero," and another to declare that "it was Toscanini who launched the career of the 'Bolero'"
Claude Debussy Premiere Rhapsodie for Clarinet is from 1910. Having been appointed to the Board of Directors of the Paris Conservatoire, one of Debussy's first duties was to supply two compositions for that year's clarinet examinations. His original composition was for clarinet and piano but Debussy then published his own orchestration of the accompaniment the following year. It is a work of demanding technique for clarinet, with a structure that includes both a slow, lyrical section to display the solo clarinet's mastery of tone and a brighter section to showcase technical dexterity.
Jean-Philippe Rameau was one of the most important French composers and music theorists of the Baroque era, and a dominate composer of French opera capable of creating evocative and compelling music for a wide variety of dramatic situations. In 1725, French settlers of Illinois sent Chief Agapit Chicagou and five other chiefs to Paris where they met with Louis XV to pledge allegiance to the crown. Later the chiefs demonstrated three native-American dances that would inspire Rameau to compose his music for his opera-ballet Les Indes Galantes. Familiarity with the opera's plot is not required for appreciating the charms of Rameau's imaginative orchestration of these colorful miniatures.
Emmanuel Chabrier formed his Suite Pastorale from a set of his own piano pieces. Orchestrated in 1888, the suite includes four pieces for which he seems to have had a special fondness. Far from being merely a pianist's music blandly converted to full orchestra, Chabrier's orchestral imagination is on display in the superb and constantly varied resourcefulness with which his piano effects are transferred to the orchestra.
Steven Errante, Conductor of the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra, will also provide a concert preview for twenty minutes starting one hour prior to the concert, sharing background about the composers along with his insights into some pre-recorded highlights of the music to be performed.
Steven Errante, conductor
Unless indicated, all program notes are researched and written by Dr. Steven Errante.