The London Symphony Orchestra's Debussy series with Chief Guest conductor François-Xavier Roth, at the Barbican, London. WONDERFUL first concert - please come back and read more SOON. Lalo and Massenet revealed as master orchestrators, and Debussy already showing his mastery of pulse, rhythm, texture and lyricism though he was barely 20 when he started writing. And the Elephant in the Room ? we can hear Pélléas et Mélisande in germination. Again and gain, the spirit of French style is dance, agility, precision, energy, inventiveness. Wagner, while well played, seemed almost pre modern.
Much more than "Debussy's Greatest Hits" but a series that puts Debussy into context in a thought -provoking manner, typical of Roth's intelligent musical flair. Tomorrow, 21st January, "The Young Debussy" with Debussy's Première Suite which he wrote while still a student. The piece exists in manuscript but was was only prepared for performance in 2012 when Philippe Manoury orchestrated the final movement, Rêve. Roth conducted the premiere with Les Siècles and made the so far only recording. The Première Suite unfolds in four movements, Fête, Ballet, Rêve and Cortège et Bacchanale. Though the piece is very early Debussy indeed (1882-4) there are passages which suggest how the composer was going to develop. It will be heard together with the overture to Wagner Tannhäuser, the suite of Massenet Le Cid and Lalo's Cello Concerto with Edgar Moreau, soloist. A big programme, but consider the connections and influences.
Last but certainly not least, not least, on Sunday 28th March, "Half Six Fix" a one hour concert starting 6.30pm - Debussy La Mer and Stravinsky Chant du Rossignol. Worth coming in to town for that alone and dinner later. Or, you could stay for the evening concert with the Britten Sinfonia and the Britten Sinfonia Voices, with Stravinsky, Gabrieli, Gesualdo, Mozart, Bruckner and Esa-Pekka Salonen's Concert etude for solo horn.