exit through the gift shop – part I

the oregon symphony’s latest program was officially entitled the classical guitar, but ol’ beavey thinks playtime with maurice would have worked just fine.  last night, the schnitzer crowd was generously treated to a double-dose of mr. ravel’s orchestrations that bookended the program: a rare b-side gem up front and one of his absolute smash hits as a finale.  ravel’s alborada del gracioso was up first, and as soon as delightfully spry guest maestro carlos turned on the band’s ignition, it was perfectly clear: folks who came craving some spanish fare needn’t wait for the guest soloist to arrive, for the bay of biscay winds were already blowing and the seafood paella had been simmering for hours.  (yo, check it ~ while this rodent initially assumed alborada to be a french impressionist’s knock-off of spanish music, it’s totes worth remembering that uncle maurice was born in the heart of basque country to a spanish mother from madrid.)  the 7-minute marvel plays it coy with this mysterious plucking of strings and harps for a while, until the rattling castanets and beautifully warm bassoon usher in a wave of orchestral color and power, utterly fascinating to witness.  by the end of the work, it was already quite obvious what the concert’s take-away message would be: never miss a chance to hear an orchestra play ravel… like, ever.  [seriously.  pinky swear with me now.  i mean it.]  yowza!

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