* Notes *
Last Thursday William Eddins conducted the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra in a program that included three short pieces written between the years 1910-1921 by French composers, an American premiere of contemporary music, and Martinů's first symphony. The evening began with the frilly Valse des dépêches by Germaine Tailleferre. The piece sounded suitable for an ice skating number, perhaps. Debussy's La Fille aux Cheveux de Lin scored for orchestra came next, it was quite dreamy and shimmery. Rounding off the French portion of the performance was Lili Boulanger's very pretty D'un matin de printemps.
The highlight of the evening was certainly the American premiere of Allan Gilliland's Dreaming of the Masters II - Rhapsody GEB, not least of all because Eddins was both the piano soloist and conductor. Eddins spoke a bit about the genesis of the piece and explained that the "GEB" of the title refers to Gershwin, Ellington, and Bernstein. What followed was a cheerful, likable synthesis of classical and jazz.
Berkeley Symphony ended with Martinů's Symphony No. 1. The work is rather lush and sweeping, having a rather cinematic sound. They played beautifully throughout, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the season.
* Tattling *
There was much coughing and talking during the performance. The audience clapped in between the first and second movements and the second and third movements of the Martinů.
William Eddins referred to Ferde Grofé's 1942 orchestration of Rhapsody in Blue as the "wallowing-cow version that you are familiar with."