To Raise My Cup Artfully

Submitted by Andy on Mon, 10/08/2007 - 09:47

Through black magick or some such other voodoo the Boston Conservatory got a number of tickets to last Thursday's opening of the BSO, one of which I promptly scooped up. This seemed more exciting than normally getting free tickets since I had always been led to believe that Opening Night of a major orchestra was Sort Of A Thing. I haven't had much interaction with the Society portion of the classical music scene, and while I'm a great fan of pretension I was wondering whether I was getting in over my head. Would someone be wearing opera glasses, or a solid gold pince-nez? Is the the sort of crowd who hires people like me to read the New Yorker for them? Sadly, if such shenanigans were going on I missed them. My accomplices had to filthy their hands with employment until but short half-hour before the show. We weren't, however, too late to miss some rediculous appetizers and order wine far too close to show time. (Wine tip: Do not pound a shiraz.)

But the program was all Ravel! I was worried about getting punked and having to sit through Eine Kleine Nachtmusik again. On paper it seems a little unexpected to dedicate a whole night to Maurice, he's not quite one of the safety composers that usually get the nod for these sort of events. Furthermore, since his signature is building gigantic dissonance to resolve them in oblique ways I wasn't sure if the joke would stay funny. Turns out the program was goddamn brillant. It helped that his bouncy Iberiesques (Alaborada, Piano Concerto) were interspersed with more lush and contemplative works, but unless you've been spending time with them in the woods it is a hell of a welcome back for the BSO. It would not be inaccurate to refer to their string sound as full.

Like many of the BSO shows, my impression is more of the program than the performance since I'm familiar with depressingly little orchestral rep. It feels like I've been talking about Ravel at lot lately, but since my music history sections place me simultaneously in the Middle Ages, early classical Vienna, and turn-of-the-century Paris I feel like I've spoken of damn near anything recently. In the interest of mentioning however, when pianist Yves-Paul Thibaudet, who was a monster on the Piano Concerto, came back for bows he was wearing a red velvet smoking jacket that calmly and succinctly stated "Look at my outfit. I am a pimp." You don't get away with that shit if you phone it a performance. I want that jacket.

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