The Paris Festival: Week 3

Yannick Nézet-Séguin - Conductor

Choong-Jin Chang - Viola


Berlioz - Harold in Italy, Op. 16


Ravel - Alborada del gracioso

Ravel - Rapsodie espagnole

Ravel - Bolero

Friday, January 27, 2017

2:00 pm Verizon Hall

Our final visit to Paris celebrates two composers who reached outside their rich musical milieu to find inspiration around the Mediterranean. Hector Berlioz’s Harold in Italy, inspired by Lord Byron’s poetry, was written for the devilishly talented Niccolò Paganini. He decided the viola part wasn’t prominent enough, and rejected the piece. His loss is the music world’s gain; the work is now at the heart of the viola repertoire. Our principal viola, Choong-Jin Chang, steps out front to shine in this wonderful piece. From Italy to Spain, a frequent creative wellspring for Maurice Ravel (his parents both had Spanish roots): Alborada del gracioso uses Spanish musical themes; Rapsodie espagnole celebrates all things Spanish, especially music and dance; and then there’s the stunning Bolero. Deceptively simple, yet utterly compelling, it was a sensational success at its Paris Opera premiere in 1928 and brings our Paris sojourn to an ecstatic finale.

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