From Music Director Daniel Meyer
This weekend’s program is inspired by Paris. I enjoy centering a musical program around a singular theme, so long as that theme allows us to perform a wide range of music. With its incredible cultural history, Paris has been a center point for artists, authors, poets, and composers across the ages. It remains today an incredibly vibrant city of artists, yet also possesses some of the most highly-regarded museums and performing arts institutions in the world. So while Paris is just as happy to look forward, it also has the amazing resources to look back on our history and see first-hand how artists capitalized on their creative impulses.
Paris’ remarkable arts scene is also due in large part to the number of artists who left their home countries to live in and soak up the culture that makes the city so special. It is in that spirit that I placed the Russian Stravinsky alongside the Parisian Ravel, the Austrian Mozart, and the Polish Chopin. All four artists can count Paris as one of the most important cities in their creative and performing histories, and with this range of expression over two centuries, it is exciting to think about how a singular place can inspire such a diversity of expression.
Stravinsky very famously connected himself with the great impresario Diaghilev, and it was Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes, in residence in Paris, who commissioned Stravinsky’s first three major ballets. Pulcinella, while later, was also a result of a Diaghilev-Ballet Russes commission that even included costumes and scenic design by Picasso! Ravel’s Pavane is one of my favorite miniatures – so much heartfelt and delicate music in such a short amount of time, due largely to the silken and evocative solo melody written for the French horn. The harmonies – very French. Mozart traveled through Paris, performed in Paris, and composed for the Parisian audience. He even wrote a letter to his father chronicling how he thought specific musical gestures in his D Major Symphony “Paris” would delight the audience and spur them to spontaneous applause. Chopin was of course revered as a pianist of the highest order of virtuosity and expression. His two piano concertos, while early in his compositional career, beautifully chronicle the very original ear and dexterous fingers Chopin must have possessed.
In the end, I hope you will be intrigued by the juxtaposition of such inventive creators. It is our joy and humble pleasure to serve to bring these works to life for you, live on the Warner Theatre stage on Saturday night.