Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Les Violons de France - Mozart, Saint- Saëns, Massenet & Vivaldi - 11/26/11

Mozart: "Eine kleine Nachtmusik"
Saint-Saëns: "The Swan" from The Carnival of the Animals
Massenet: 'Méditation" from Thais
Vivaldi: The Four Seasons

Rightfully famous for being one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Paris seems to take endless delight in casually displaying one stunning sight after another to its predictably elated visitors. Few of them, however, are as unforgettable as the medieval Sainte Chapelle, which quietly stands in the shadow of Notre Dame on the Île de la Cité. While the outside looks like just another Gothic church, the inside is such a breath-taking festival of light and colors through the 15 stained-glass windows reaching up to the star-covered ceiling that you’ll believe you have accidentally stepped into heaven.
Therefore, while I was trying to find some musical performances in the City of Lights that would take place during our stay there and came across a concert of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons by Les Violons de France in the Sainte Chapelle, I knew that my mum and I just had to go, so we went. Even though the darkness of the evening prevented us from enjoying the full visual effect of the interior, the delicate lighting created a less spectacular but more intimate atmosphere that was perfectly appropriate to savor one of the undisputed masterpieces of the Baroque genre to our heart's content.

But just as we were getting mentally prepared for the melodic lightness of Vivaldi’s “Spring”,  the evening suddenly took an unexpected turn for the better when the first notes coming from the stage sounded unmistakably like… Mozart’s “Eine kleine Nachtmusik”! And that was not all. It was followed by a graceful “Swan” from Saint- Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals, and then a soaring “Méditation” from Massenet’s Thais, led by the assertive soloist Frédéric Moreau. This lovely trio of violin all-time hits was such a treat that I almost forgot what we were there for.
Luckily the musicians did not, and they finally treated us to four vibrant seasons, slightly pared down, yes, but still beautifully resplendent of myriad of colors. The acoustics were favorable and the temperature comfortable, so Vivaldi’s beloved work got to thoroughly enchant its attentive audience one more time.

After a rousing ovation, Frédéric Moreau came back for a diabolically virtuosic “Dance of the Goblins” by Barzini. Another sure-fire crowd pleaser that, true to form, concluded the concert on an irresistibly fun note.

No comments: