Ravel, Bartók, Strauss

I just got back from watching a fantastic performance. The SLSO played:

Ravel – ‘Mother Goose Suite’
Bartók – ‘Piano Concerto No. 3’
Strauss – ‘Don Juan’
Strauss – ‘Till Eulenspiegels Iustige Streiche’

It was a really well put-together show, all around. They started off with the Ravel, which I did enjoy, but it was the weakest of all the pieces. It was well played and composed, but I felt like something was missing. Maybe it just sounded too pretty. Nothing wrong with that, right? Either way, I wasn’t too attached to the piece. 

Then, it was time for the Bartók, which I had been looking forward to for quite a while. I was not disappointed in the least. In fact, I’d say I enjoyed it more than the performance I saw earlier in the year of his ‘Concerto for Orchestra’. The pianist was Orli Shaham, who happens to be David Robertson’s wife. She played beautifully on most of the slower passages, but I felt like she was a bit too overbearing on some of the louder, faster parts. I know that it’s Bartók, but maybe a little more restraint at key points could have helped. It could have been due, in part, to Marc Albrecht’s conducting- I’ve never seen someone so animated. I thought he was going to fly off the stage, and at one point he almost hit the Principal Violin because he was flailing his arms around. Besides for a little over-enthusiasm, the Concerto was spectacular. 

I really enjoyed both of the Strauss pieces. I can always tell when it’s Strauss- I love the huge, dissonant chords. Brass, brass, brass! Both of the songs tonight were tone poems, so I had an especially fun time trying to follow the music. All-in-all, this evening’s performance of the program titled “Tricksters” made for a terrific evening.


I think that’s all thats been going on musically. I’ve been listening to a lot of Brahms (Symphony 1 and solo piano Op. 117 and Op. 118, among other things).


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