For the second live performance of his first season as music director of Tucson Symphony Orchestra, José Luis Gomez programmed a extremely Impressionistic Debussy “Prelude to Afternoon of a Faun,” a startlingly trendy, for its time, Stravinsky “Firebird Suite” and a not often carried out Alexander Glazunov “Symphony No. four,” a TSO premier. To date this season, Gomez has revealed his Venezuelan roots in a chunk final month, a few of his private favorites just like the Glazunov final weekend and his attraction to the flute within the “Faun.” He is also starting to disclose his heat and connection together with his viewers and his orchestra — each most welcome right here and essential to his private success and that of the persevering with enchancment of the enjoying and the sound.
For this second Basic Live performance, Gomez deserted the standard use of risers for a few of the brasses and percussions, putting all musicians on the stage flooring to allow them to “hear one another higher,” he defined in his pre-live performance remarks. He has additionally made different seating modifications like transferring the harps to that again sounding-board wall and bending the double basses round in an arc. The modifications have been excitingly profitable, including extra to the unity and wholeness of the orchestra’s output and transferring towards the “huge pipe-organ” impact this column applauded final month.
It's Gomez’s idea that Glazunov is much less-heard right now as a result of he straddled the 19th and 20th centuries however eschewed the trendy chromatics of Wagner, the polyphonic complexities of Richard Strauss or the Impressionistic developments and explorations for which Debussy and Schoenberg turned acknowledged.
Since he was extra a hyperlink between the late 19th century Romanticism and the newer considering in Paris and world wide, he's not seen as necessary as these on both facet of him. No, he caught religiously to the previous methods — the people songs and types of earlier instances, and whereas he stayed with them exceedingly nicely, he was certainly “caught” again there and had nothing to do with ahead considering and composing.
The orchestra carried out the symphony most ably, and for these of us with faucet roots firmly grounded in 19th century romanticism, it was pleasing. However the response was extra a passion for the accessibility of the previous than any pleasure in future prospects. Glazunov was in all probability happy that a few of his work is cited by Stravinsky in his ballets — folks dances, primarily. The Nice-Gate-of-Kiev-like finale was a crowd-pleaser to the practically full home.
The “Firebird” mystical, magical legend is Stravinsky’s greatest-recognized and most-usually carried out work. His trainer Rimsky-Korsakov’s orchestration approach is clear all through the rating, a reality Stravinsky made no bones about, himself dubbing the work “Rimsky-Korsakov with pepper.” Alexander Lipay’s solo flute passages have been lyrically stunning, as they have been within the opening “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun,” in addition to the duet with the harps. It was shocking to listen to the harps sounding out so clearly from the rear of the orchestra — one other profitable change by Maestro Gomez.
The nice conductor Pierre Boulez stated of “Afternoon of a Faun” that “the flute of the faun introduced new breath to the artwork of music” and christened the rating as the start of contemporary music. The piece was destined to grow to be the primary nice orchestral piece in Debussy’s grownup life and impressionistic model.
Notable all through the live performance, and particularly within the essential solos in “Faun,” was the extremely skilled work of the horns, Johanna Lundy Principal, a bit typically criticized on this column. The excessive notes got here by way of with the clarion readability of mountain water.
Basic Collection continues on Nov. 17 and 19 with Sibelius’s “Finlandia,” the Grieg Piano Concerto and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony #three. Information and tickets at 520-882-8585 and www.tucsonsymphony.org